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Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII): FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions

What is BRII?

The Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) provides funding to eligible UC Berkeley authors to make their publication immediately free to all readers. Originally established as a pilot program in January 2008, BRII subsidizes, in various degrees, authors who choose to make their work open access.

Why is BRII needed?

The purpose of the BRII program is to foster broad public access to the work of Berkeley scholars by encouraging the Berkeley community to take advantage of open access (OA) publishing opportunities. Open Access literature is free, digital, and available to anyone online. With barrier-free access, researchers from anywhere in the world can read the scholarly output of Berkeley authors. With this greater readership, OA also has the potential to increase the impact of Berkeley scholarship.

What does this program cover?

This initiative covers the article publishing charge (APC) or OA scholarly book or chapter publishing fee for fully open access journals and publications. Please note that due to the popularity of the BRII program, we are only able to fund one application per person per fiscal year.

Who is funding this program?

In order to fund BRII, the Library has some gift funding and has redirected a small amount of collections funds (that is, monies that are normally spent on books, journal subscriptions and other library materials) towards the BRII initiative. There is a limited pool of money in the BRII program. Should BRII funding be depleted during the course of the year, the program will be suspended for the remainder of the year.

Are other institutions engaging in this activity?

Yes. Similar programs are now in place at most of the UC campuses, Harvard University, the University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin,University of Calgary, Lund University, University of Tennessee, University of Oregon, University of Nottingham and other UC campuses. The Open Access Directory wiki includes a comprehensive list of institutions providing OA journal funds.

Who is eligible to apply?

Authors: Any current UCB faculty, graduate student, post-doc, or academic staff who do not have other sources of funds to pay article processing charges. The BRII program especially encourages applicants from the humanities and social sciences. 

Please note that emeritus faculty, visiting scholars, and visiting postdocs not classified as UC Berkeley employees are not eligible for BRII funds. In addition, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) must have a joint appointment with UC Berkeley in order to be eligible for the program.

What if my publishing fee exceeds the amount offered by BRII? 

BRII can only reimburse authors for open access publishing charges up to $2,500 (for articles) and $10,000 (for books). Authors are responsible for securing the remainder of any publishing fees. For grant recipients (such as from NIH, NSF, etc.), open access publishing costs generally are considered an allowable direct expense unless funders explicitly prohibit them. Authors should consider planning in advance when applying for research grants to take into consideration open access publishing fees, especially since not all journals will be eligible for BRII funding or UC-wide publishing discounts. For more information, check out the resource Open Access Fact Sheet for Researchers Applying for Grants.

Can I publish in any open access journal? 

As long as you’re an eligible author and there’s not already a systemwide open access publishing agreement in place, all fully open access journals are eligible for BRII reimbursement. A publication is fully open access when the entire journal is freely available to the public without a subscription or access fee. 

There has been concern over the last several years about deceptive publishing, an exploitative publishing practice in which illegitimate journals charge authors publication fees without providing the typical editorial and other publishing services. BRII does not screen applications based on publisher merit or perceived quality, but there are steps you can take individually to avoid deceptive publishing. 

What can you do? You can carefully evaluate open access journals and publishers to be sure they are meeting your scholarly publishing needs. Check out the page on the Library website that outlines some steps you can take to assess publishers. Other things you can do is see if your target journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), or whether the publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA). If you have any questions about deceptive publishing or need assistance in evaluating publisher practices, please contact

What's the difference between BRII and the "transformative agreements" UC has entered into with some publishers? 

Both BRII and the UC transformative agreements support the shift toward sustainable open access publishing by making more UC-authored publications open access to the world. It does this by paying for publishing costs (article processing charges) instead of paying for reading costs (subscription fees). Under most transformative agreements, UC has pledged to pay some portion of an authors' APC, and then the author is asked to cover the rest with grant funds. If the author declares they have no funds to contribute, the UC will pay the remainder. 

If you are publishing in a journal with which the UC has entered into a transformative agreement, you may not apply for BRII funds to reimburse the author contribution of the article processing charge. If you do not have grant funds, then declare this in the publishing process and UC will cover the rest. That way, Berkeley authors can leverage BRII funding for publishing in other OA journals with which the UC does not have a transformative agreement set up. 

What about the UC Open Access Policy passed by the Academic Senate in July 2013?

The UC Academic Senate Open Access Policy implements what is known as "green OA." That is, authors continue to publish in their journals of choice (most likely traditional, subscription-based journals.) After an article has been published, according to the policy, UC authors are to post their author accepted manuscript (the final, peer reviewed, yet not publisher formatted version) on eScholarship. Since there are no publishing costs associated with green OA there is no need to apply for BRII funding.

BRII, in the other hand, funds "gold OA." Gold OA means that the publication is made freely available to the public immediately upon publication. In order to fund publishing, many "gold OA" journals charge author processing charges. That's where BRII funding comes in.

Will BRII support charges to make my dissertation open access?

You do not need BRII funds to make your dissertation openly available. When you submit your dissertation to the Grad Division you are offered the option to select "immediate release." When you select this option, the Library will, when it adds a record to the Library catalog, indicate that it is freely available; anyone, anywhere with access to the internet will be able to read your dissertation.

Can I apply for BRII funds to make my previously-published book open access?

Some book publishers are offering authors the chance to make their previously-published book open access. BRII funds may be used to retroactively make a book open access, but only if the request is done within one year from the original publication date, and meets all the eligibility requirements