KU Research Update: Tracking how open access books are being used


Knowledge Unlatched (KU) is working to find better ways to track how Open Access books are being used, and to develop simple, easy-to-understand usage reports for libraries, authors and publishers. Our new arm, KU Research, is addressing these issues.

Tracking usage of Open Access books that are available under Creative Commons licences is not straightforward as the books may be hosted on multiple sites and can be easily shared. Books in the KU Collection may be hosted on various separate platforms: OAPEN provides KU with COUNTER-compliant usage data for all downloads from the OAPEN platform. HathiTrust is making usage data available - however this data is not COUNTER-compliant, though we hope it will be soon. In addition, KU titles have also been uploaded to the Internet Archive, and may be hosted by libraries and publishers on their own platforms. The increased discoverability that results from books being hosted on diverse platforms can only be beneficial, however, combining usage data from multiple sources creates data blending challenges not only for books in the KU collection but for all OA books.

KU Research is developing a dashboard using Tableau software that will allow authors, libraries and publishers to view blended usage data for each of the books made Open Access through KU. We are in the process of activating the new system, which is being developed by a PhD student at Curtin University.

Usage Stats Map

Usage Stats Chart

KU Research is also exploring the role that KU usage data may play in the emerging field of Altmetrics. To date, Altmetrics has focused on the journal literature and largely ignored books, in part because data about books has been hard to access. This is an important space that KU hopes to engage with as it moves forward.

In the meantime we are delighted to report that the 28 titles from the Pilot Collection have been downloaded in 170 countries, over 40,000 times, since the first unlatching took place in March 2014!

Further information can be found in the Research section.

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