As an Open Access initiative, Knowledge Unlatched (KU) offers academic libraries and publishers the opportunity to work with a shared-cost model that enables free access for new scholarly books using a Creative Commons license. This approach provides an avenue for making book content open alongside science literature rather than leaving it locked behind a paywall.
Libraries are joining KU and pledging their support for the project’s Pilot Collection, which contains 28 books from 13 publishers, and is focused on the Humanities (Literature, History) and Social Sciences (Politics, Media & Communications). Research funding is much lower in these disciplines than it is in the sciences. At the same time, the cost of publishing a book greatly exceeds that of a science article.
The KU model depends on libraries from around the world sharing the cost of producing the first copy of specialist scholarly books selected for ‘unlatching’ by members. Unlatched books will be made Open Access when they are published. Hosting and preservation will be provided by HathiTrust in the U.S. and OAPEN in Europe. In addition, CLOCKSS will provide a dark archive for the preservation of the Open Access books.
The Open Access version of KU titles will be stored and preserved in a number of locations to ensure that it remains available and accessible to scholarly communities of tomorrow. HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. OAPEN is a non-profit foundation dedicated to peer reviewed Open Access books, providing a platform for their full text dissemination. CLOCKSS is a joint venture between academic publishers and research libraries focused on building a sustainable and geographically distributed dark archive for the benefit of the global research community.
By working with these partners, KU is helping libraries and publishers to ensure that new books are available to scholars across the world on an Open Access license, and that their future accessibility is assured.