How it works

Sign-up for the KU Pilot Collection has now closed. To pre-register your interest in the next rounds of Knowledge Unlatched, click here.

Watch and listen to this presentation outlining how the Pilot worked.

The Knowledge Unlatched model depends on many libraries from around the world sharing the payment of a single Title Fee to a publisher, in return for a book being made available on a Creative Commons licence via OAPEN and HathiTrust as a fully downloadable PDF.

The Title Fee represents the basic cost of publishing a book. Because the Title Fee is a fixed amount, as more libraries participate in Knowledge Unlatched, the per-library cost of ‘unlatching’ each title declines. For example:


Access to the Title Fee allows publishers to feel confident that they will not make a loss on a title if it is made Open Access. Publishers are willing to provide libraries with discounts and make books available on Open Access licences if they can be assured that their core costs will be covered.

Once it has reached scale, this model is expected to be financially self-sustaining: the costs of operating Knowledge Unlatched will be covered by a very small percentage of each Title Fee.

During the Pilot, Knowledge Unlatched worked to secure pledges from more than 200 libraries in order to unlatch a collection of 28 front-list titles from 13 recognised scholarly publishers. Click here to find out more about the Pilot.

Publishers agreed to recognise print and e-book purchases made by libraries during the Pilot as a contribution towards the Title Fee. As a result, if a library purchased a print or e-book copy of any of the titles included in the Pilot Collection, they were not asked to pay an unlatching fee for that title.