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September 15, 2009: Five universities including UC Berkeley have announced the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity. Open access literature provides barrier-free access to information. Researchers from anywhere in the world can read scholarly output that has been made available in an open-access journal. A wider audience, in turn, has the potential to increase the impact of the research presented in an open-access article. Signatories of the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity commit to the establishment of funds or other mechanisms for underwriting publication charges. When authors submit their articles to fee-based open-access journals, theses funds can be used to underwrite the publication charge.
UC Berkeley was an early adopter of the funding equity approach, having established an OA fund in January 2008. The Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) is available to any Berkeley professor, post doc or graduate student who wants to make their journal articles free to all readers immediately upon publication. According to Berkeley's University Librarian Tom Leonard, "Publishers and researchers know that it has never been easier to share the best work they produce with the world. But they also know their traditional business model is creating new walls around discoveries. Universities can really help take down these walls and the open-access compact is a highly significant tool for the job."
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