The University of California has made a significant policy change regarding its research:
Building on UC’s previously-adopted Academic Senate open access (OA) policies, this new policy enables the university system and associated national labs to provide unprecedented access to scholarly research authored by clinical faculty, lecturers, staff researchers, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and librarians – just to name a few. Comprising ten campuses, five medical centers, three national laboratories and nearly 200,000 employees, the UC system is responsible for over 2% of the world’s total research publications.
This isn’t completely ground-breaking but it’s a clear statement. From what I can tell this does not imply that authors can give out free copies of published papers. They would need to provide the research in a new format written separately from the published journal article. What it does is assign the rights to the University before the journal (which may restrict re-publication of the same research outside the journal). Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusion. I think it’s good.