Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 85.72
Liaison Kira Stoll
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Berkeley
IN-41: Textbook Affordability

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Mikayla Tran
SDG & OS Engagement Fellow
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution host a peer-to-peer textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project?:

A brief description of the textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project:
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) has provisions to reduce costs to students while supporting instructors' ability to select high-quality course materials. HEOA requires that course book information be made available to students before they enroll in a course. UC Berkeley complies with HEOA by asking faculty to submit book orders to the Cal Student Store even in cases where faculty place orders with independent bookstores, so they can be listed in the course catalogue. Providing book lists to the Cal Student Store, regardless of where books are ordered, also makes it possible for the store to buy back books at the end of the semester and offer them at a discount in the future.

Link to rent textbooks from the Cal Student Store: https://calstudentstore.berkeley.edu/textbooks

Library Pilot Programs
In cooperation with the Center for Teaching & Learning, Associated Students of the University of California, and Educational Technology Services, the Library launched a pilot for 2017-2018 to explore how we might reduce student costs for assigned course materials. The pilot tested, at limited scale, three Library-led services intended to help reduce the costs of assigned course content for Berkeley students, while also allowing the Library to gauge feasibility and efficiency were those services expanded.

- Course Packs: The Library enabled instructors to create free and electronic course readers in lieu of instructors requiring students to purchase print copies from third-party vendors.
- eBook Swaps: The Library acquired unlimited user licenses for books that the instructors would otherwise have required students to purchase in print.
- Open educational resources (OERs): The Library and Center for Teaching and Learning supported instructors in shifting from traditional textbooks to OERs (online and free to read and reuse).
The Library received financial support for our participation in the pilot programs from The Arcadia Fund.

Over the course of the three pilot semesters (Fall 2017, Spring 2018, and Fall 2018), the Library supported over 40 courses, representing approximately 2400 students. We have estimated potential student savings of over $200,000 for the pilot period alone!

Open Textbook Network
The UC Berkeley Library has also strengthened its commitment to making course materials more affordable for students by joining the Open Textbook Network, which supports access to freely available and openly licensed textbooks and course content.

Berkeley will work with the Open Textbook Network to advance the use of open practices on campus by offering resources and workshops to explain and expand adoption of open textbooks. Not only do open educational resources reduce student costs, but also they have a positive impact on student success by providing access to assigned course materials from the very start of class.

The Open Textbook Network also maintains the Open Textbook Library, a premiere resource for peer-reviewed academic textbooks. All Open Textbook Library textbooks are free and openly licensed for use, adaption or modification.

Berkeley Library Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials: https://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/c.php?g=623949&p=4347647

Does the institution provide incentives for academic staff that explicitly encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks?:

A brief description of the incentives to encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks:
OA Books
We provide support and solutions for UC Berkeley authors to create, publish, host, and find open or affordable course content for use in the classroom and beyond. While many scholars in the humanities and social sciences publish in OA journals, they also publish scholarly books, termed “monographs”. These books become a critical component of professional credentialing, yet their readership is limited by the same kinds of access barriers endemic to subscription-based journals: The scholarly books are quite expensive, and increasingly fewer libraries can afford to purchase them.

University presses’ funding models for financing OA books are innovative and evolving. UC Press’ Luminos program (https://www.luminosoa.org/), for instance, is formulated as a partnership in which costs and benefits are shared by member organizations. Many academic publishers also offer a print or print-on-demand version of the book for sale to readers who prefer hard copies, further enabling cost recovery through traditional print sales.

At their core, most OA book funding models typically charge academic authors the equivalent of an APC. Given the greater investment needed to create and edit longer and more complex manuscripts, the book processing charges (BPCs) can range upwards of $7000. At UC Berkeley, we can help subsidize those fees through our BRII program so that authors' out-of-pocket is zero or substantially reduced--with the upshot being that the resulting literature is available to all. We can also help you create an open book for free, using platforms like PressbooksEDU.


Get money for article or book processing charges:

The Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) supports open access book charges. By expanding BRII to also cover the publishing fees for OA books, BRII can help Berkeley authors publish long-form scholarship that can be read by anyone at no cost. BRII covers up to $10,000 of a BPC.

These digital editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited OA books typically offer readers more than just the text itself. Digital monographs can also incorporate multimedia with the text, include annotation and commenting tools, and provide platforms that further encourage the development of innovative scholarship.


Create an open book:

The UC Berkeley Open Book Publishing Platform offers the Pressbooks publishing software so that anyone with an active @berkeley.edu email address can create, publish, and host an open textbook or other online works. Pressbooks is a free, easy, and professional self-publishing platform to create an open textbook or any other online resource in minutes. Pressbooks features professionally-designed templates, flexible and customizable licensing, and tools to maximize accessibility. This platform is administered by the UC Berkeley Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services. Pressbooks encourages users to share their book freely under an open license.


Other platforms
In addition to piloting Pressbooks, we are working to develop a platform-agnostic space to host and feature UC Berkeley-created open books made with any number of different digital publishing tools, such as GitBooks, Share LaTeX, Overleaf, and Scalar. We are committed to supporting and providing a full suite of publishing options to meet as many disciplinary and technical needs as possible.


Website URL where information about the textbook affordability incentives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.