What’s new at Knowledge Unlatched and with Open Access in general

Some Open Access news (as drawn from Knowledge Unlatched’s recent newsletter):This October,  usage of Open Access books, funded through Knowledge Unlatched (KU), has doubled within just one quarter, now totaling 228 000 full-text downloads on the OAPEN platform and 67, 068 chapter downloads on the JSTOR platform.

To mark International Open Access Week, KU announced two new partnerships. It launched a new cooperation with Bertelsmann Verlag to make its Open Access titles in social sciences, education, and social research internationally available through KU. In addition, KU’s partnership with transcript makes 200 political science monographs free for reading worldwide.

KU founder Frances Pinter has also recently co-authored the report Exploring Usage of Open Access Books via the Jstor Platform,” which investigates in detail the usage of Open Access books.  This report is the outcome of research commissioned and funded by four presses. It engages with usage data made available by JSTOR relating to OA books in order to assist publishers in understanding how their OA content is being used.

  • The PDF of the JSTOR report is available here.

Meanwhile, Springer Nature published the whitepaper: The OA effect: How does open access affect the usage of scholarly books?, showing that Open Access books enjoy, on average, seven times more downloads, 50% more citations, and 10 times more online mentions than paywalled titles.

Part 1 of the white paper presents the findings of the quantitative analysis. The average performance of OA books, as measured by usage, citations and online mentions, was compared to the average performance of non-OA titles.

Part 2 presents feedback from authors and funders who were interviewed about their experiences and perceptions of OA book publishing with Springer Nature. Interviews focused on: the impact of OA on books; OA book metrics that are of most relevance to authors and funders; and authors’ and funders’ expectations and experiences of, as well as motivations for, OA book publishing.

  • The PDF of Springer’s whitepaper is available here.

Last but certainly not least, Stephen Hawking’s 1966 doctoral thesis “Properties of Expanding Universes” has recently “broken the Internet” after becoming available to the general public for the first time.

  • The PDF of Hawking’s thesis is available here (for reading, not copying).