This week, I’d like to highlight Knowledge Unlatched (KU), a nonprofit in the U.K. that “offers a global library consortium approach to funding open access books” (according to Wikipedia). It shares a number of similarities with the HathiTrust Digital Library, featured on NSR last week, and provides a backdrop to KU’s business model.
KU began in 2012, after two years of exploratory work by founder Frances Pinter, who has owned a publishing house since 1973 (when she was 23). The Wiki on KU details its beginnings and growth, also well-covered in two blog posts (Griffith University and The Bookseller). What is of particular interest is that both collections rely on consortia of universities and colleges to maintain their services. Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched, supported by libraries, and made available in PDF to any reader, anywhere in the world
NSR (supporter of all initiatives bringing open and free access to books and knowledge), is always glad to hear from the folks at Knowledge Unlatched. They shared some news in an email yesterday. Here is an excerpt from the email and the news article on their site:
Knowledge Unlatched’s Plans for 2017
The year is already off to an exciting start as we see pledges come in from libraries all over the world who wish to support KU Select 2016; our HSS e-book collection featuring books from 54 publishers on 5 continents, curated by 40 acquisitions and collections librarians in 12 countries. The outcome of the library pledging period will be published in February.
Knowledge Unlatched is very active in developing Open Access. Our goal is clear: we want to make KU a platform for different Open Access initiatives to allow them to focus on developing their models whilst broadening the funding structure.
1. With JSTOR, KU is testing an experiment on usage. All KU Pilot and Round 2 titles will be hosted and fully available as Open Access on JSTOR, without cost to users.
2. We will soon be ready to add geolocational usage data
to the COUNTER-compliant stats libraries are already receiving for unlatched books.
3. In summer we will help OAPEN, one of our hosting partners since the beginning of KU, to distribute their institutional repository version to libraries. This will be an important step to also help “green” OA to advance within institutions.
4. Together with Language Science Press, we are exploring opportunities to gather funding for Open Access from a larger variety of organisations. So far we’ve sought support exclusively from libraries. Now we will be testing a new multi-stakeholder model, including other funders in support of OA.
5. We recently announced that we will be adding journals to KU. We are already receiving very promising submissions from publishers, and a number of esteemed presses are participating in this effort to flip existing subscriptions into OA.
6. We’ve also been working on a project which we are currently calling ‘KU by Request’, with a library consortium and a few publishers in Germany. If all parties agree, we will be offering German-language titles selected by libraries in a particular discipline.
7. Finally, we are working on an idea with title ‘KU Club’. This model would allow smaller libraries to benefit from both networking and information resources as well as governance opportunities.
Knowledge Unlatched has released some impressive statistics on the 28 books in its Pilot Collection, including the following:
- 80,000 downloads since March 2014.
- In at least 178 countries (until end Q1 2016).
- Resulting in an average of 2,850 downloads per book.
The full report, including an interactive map, is available here.
More news just in from the Open Access front — an initiative NSR commends and supports. Librarians and publishers, please note the following announcement from Knowledge Unlatched:
Knowledge Unlatched (KU) is asking interested publishers to submit both frontlist and backlist titles for the next KU collections: KU Select 2016.
KU Select 2016 follows on from the successful unlatching of new books earlier this year, bringing the total to over 100 Open Access books. This time we will offer both new books and complementary older books that will be useful to both researchers and students in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Our greatly expanded program is in its planning stage and we will make public the new books soon. Continue reading Publishers and librarians, take note: Knowledge Unlatched announces KU Select 2016
From the KU website:
The last month has been an especially busy time for KU. Not only are we in the middle of a library pledging round, but we are also very excited to be announcing the formal establishment of a new arm of KU: KU Research. KU Research is being headed up by Lucy Montgomery, Associate Professor at Curtin University and KU’s Deputy Director. The establishment of KU Research is an important step in scaling-up our research activities and ambitions, and formalising links between KU and researchers tackling big questions in scholarly communication and Open Access. Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched establishes KU Research
A press release from Knowledge Unlatched:
The length of monographs and their level of treatment pose unique challenges in a search environment. Monographs generally describe mature work unlike journal articles, which usually describe early stage work. As a result, it can be hard to achieve a successful search experience for restricted access monographs, according to Anurag Acharya of Google Scholar.
After asking Acharya (co-founder of Google Scholar) why Google Scholar did not index monographs, Frances Pinter of Knowledge Unlatched (KU) says, “I realized that such challenges fall by the wayside with Open Access books.” Continue reading Google Scholar Indexes Open Access Books
Following on from its highly successful Pilot concluded last year, Knowledge Unlatched is delighted to announce the launch of its second collection.
If at least 300 libraries from around the world pledge their commitment by 31 January 2016, 78 new Humanities and Social Sciences books will be made free for anyone in the world to read on
an Open Access basis. Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched Announces Launch of Round 2 Collection
We’re back by popular demand! We’re very excited about the prospects for scaling up. In this second round 25 publishers submitted 155 titles to a long list for the Round Two programme. This is double the number of publishers from our Pilot and trebles the number of title submissions. In addition to our 297 charter member librarians another 130 pre-registered their interest once the Pilot project closed at the end of last year.
The pledging period for the shortlist of 80 books (currently being selected by the Library Collections Task Force) will begin in October.
The above flyer we prepared for the June AAUP and ALA conferences on the differences between the first and second rounds. Many of the technical and workflow issues have been resolved. Nevertheless, there will be more to do after this second round. The community seems very willing to work with us to resolve these outstanding issues, which is terrific.
From the Knowledge Unlatched site:
In March 2014 Knowledge Unlatched started to unlatch books in its Pilot Collection, making them available to anyone in the world to read or download for free on a Creative Commons licence. This was the culmination of a behind-the-scenes process of loading the titles onto our partner host platforms: OAPEN and HathiTrust. The books became live on the OAPEN platform first — followed soon after by HathiTrust. The final book in the Pilot Collection was published and made OA on 2 September 2014.
You can view a list of Pilot Collection titles and download them via the KU collections website here.
The period covered by the data below is from 11 March 2014 to 31 March 2015. As well as the OAPEN statistics, which use COUNTER-compliant methodology to count each book download, the HathiTrust figures below count views per page. The KU Pilot Collection has also been uploaded to the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive’s website does not indicate a starting date to their reporting period.
Full Report on the KU Proof-of-Concept Pilot now available here.
Cultural Science Journal has published a full report on the KU Pilot project (Vol 7, No. 2, 2014, ISSN 1836-0416).
“Knowledge Unlatched: A Global Library Consortium Model for Funding Open Access Scholarly Books. Full Report on the Proof-of-Concept Pilot 2014” provides information about the Knowledge Unlatched proof-of-concept Pilot, which took place between January 2012 and September 2014. Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched full report on proof-of-concept pilot for OA monographs
Knowledge Unlatched is the 2014 winner of the IFLA/Brill Open Access Award.
The IFLA/Brill Open Access Award was created in 2013 for initiatives in the area of open access monograph publishing. This year the jury voted unanimously for Knowledge Unlatched, recognising it as the most outstanding and game-changing initiative in the field.
The jury of the IFLA/Brill award were “deeply impressed with the simplicity and elegance of the original concept, with the daring scope of the project, bringing together libraries, publishers and other organisations from around the world, and with the highly successful outcome of the pilot phase that tested the concept.”
The full award announcement is available here.
Knowledge Unlatched released a pilot progress report summary today. It is available for download. Some highlights of the report are listed below.
1. The model is cost-effective and financially viable:
“The Pilot established that authors, librarians, publishers and research funders are all willing to engage with the basic KU model. It also demonstrated that the model is cost-effective for scholarly communities and financially viable for publishers. 297 libraries from 24 countries signed up for the Pilot Collection, exceeding the original target by almost 50%. This reduced the cost for every library Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched pilot project report available
I received an email from Lucy Montgomery, Deputy Directory of Knowledge Unlatched. She provided an update on the progress of unlatching the first collection of open access books. Here are the highlights of her message:
- We have now begun the process of making the Pilot Collection available, discoverable and accessible on a Creative Commons license via OAPEN, HathiTrust and the British Library.
- PDFs of 17 books have already become available via the OAPEN digital library and we are loading content onto the HathiTrust and British Library systems.
- We have added a new page to our website which provides access KU titles. This page also makes it possible to follow the progress of each book in the Pilot Collection as it becomes available: http://collections.knowledgeunlatched.org/collection-availability-1/
- We are working with OCLC and others to ensure the quality of the MARC records being provided to us by publishers. Records will be made available as a download file in MARCXML format from the KU Collections website. As more titles are uploaded onto the system this file will be updated. Participating libraries will be notified and sent a link to the records via email. We anticipate that the first set of records will be available by 31 March.
10 March 2014 —
KU is pleased to announce that its Pilot Collection of 28 new books from 13 recognised scholarly publishers will become Open Access. The Knowledge Unlatched (KU) Pilot Collection is the first step in creating a sustainable route to Open Access for Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) books. Support from a minimum of 200 libraries willing to participate in the KU Pilot was required in order to achieve this goal. This target was exceeded by almost half, with close to 300 libraries from 24 countries joining KU in support of its shared cost approach to Open Access for specialist scholarly books. Continue reading Nearly 300 libraries in 24 countries pledge support for Knowledge Unlatched
I received an email from Christina Emery, the Project Coordinator of Knowledge Unlatched, today with very exciting news. She was very pleased to announce that KU has reached (and exceeded) the target of 200 libraries sharing the unlatching costs for the Pilot. They continue to invite more libraries to participate so that the cost per library is reduced.
You can review the list of participating institutions here: http://collections.knowledgeunlatched.org/signup-list/ They currently have sign ups from 19 countries in 4 continents. KU is continuing to encourage the global library community to support the KU Open Access initiative by signing up so that they can gain Charter Member status as well as reduce the cost for each library even further. Libraries only have one week left to join the KU Pilot Collection; the deadline is 28 February 2014: http://collections.knowledgeunlatched.org/register/ Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched exceeds target, open access collection will launch with support of libraries
Knowledge Unlatched and Portico have entered into an agreement to preserve Knowledge Unlatched’s Pilot Collection of Open Access e-books in the Portico Archive.
“We want to ensure libraries that this content will be available to researchers and students for the long term,” stated Frances Pinter, executive director, Knowledge Unlatched. “To that end, we are delighted to offer preservation of these books in Portico.”
The Knowledge Unlatched Pilot Collection includes 28 new books from 13 recognized scholarly publishers: Amsterdam University Press, Bloomsbury Academic, Brill, Cambridge University Press, De Gruyter, Duke University Press, Edinburgh University Press, Liverpool University Press, Manchester University Press, Purdue University Press, Rutgers University Press, Temple University Press, and University of Michigan Press. Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched to preserve ebooks with Portico
I am extremely excited to hear the news about the launch of the Knowledge Unlatched pilot collection. I first heard about the project in 2010 when Frances Pinter, who developed the idea, presented at the Tools of Change conference. Frances and I discussed the project back in 2010 in one of the NSR interviews and I’ve been following the development of the project since. It’s really great to see this open access monograph pilot become a reality. Congratulations Frances and everyone at KU.
Librarians – please support this initiative for open access monographs by signing up today! Here are the details:
- The Pilot is the first step in creating a sustainable route to Open Access for a large numbers of scholarly books.
- If at least 200 libraries from around the world sign up for the collection by 31 January 2014, 28 new Humanities and Social Sciences books will be made free for anyone in the world to read on an Open Access basis.
- The Knowledge Unlatched Pilot Collection includes 28 new books from 13 recognised scholarly publishers: Amsterdam University Press, Bloomsbury Academic, Brill, Cambridge University Press, De Gruyter, Duke University Press, Edinburgh University Press, Liverpool University Press, Manchester University Press, Purdue University Press, Rutgers University Press, Temple University Press and University of Michigan Press.
- The collection can be viewed at: http://collections.knowledgeunlatched.org/collection-participate-1/
- Knowledge Unlatched is inviting libraries to pledge a capped maximum of US$1,680 to â€˜unlatch’ the collection. This works out to an average of US$60 for each book.
- Libraries can pledge their interest at: http://collections.knowledgeunlatched.org/
- Pledging will remain open until 31 January 2014.
Much more information is available on the Knowledge Unlatched website.
To honor open access week, I’ll be highlighting a different open access eBook platform each day. The purpose is to create awareness of various open access ebook collections. If you have collections to suggest, please let me know.
Today’s post is about Knowledge Unlatched.
Knowledge Unlatched is not yet an eBook collection, but an initiative to bring open access eBooks to fruition though the collaborative efforts of authors, publishers, and libraries. It is an idea from Dr. Frances Pinter, Executive Director of Knowledge Unlatched. I first heard about this initiative two years ago at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference. I spoke to Frances later and our recorded interview is available on the NSR interviews page. The initiative has grown since then and a three-year pilot project will begin in 2013.
Continue reading Open Access eBooks Part Five – Knowledge Unlatched