Friday, 18 April 2014

Knowledge Unlatched: One Year on - Frances Pinter

Knowledge Unlatched is a not-or-profit collaborative initiative between libraries and publishers that enables books to be published on open access. It is helping stakeholders to work together for a sustainable open future for specialist scholarly books. This session reported on the pilot and plans for scaling.

First of all a short video on 'Knowledge Unlatched' was shown. It is clear that there is a need for open access monographs, as well as journals, but a way to do this needs to be worked out. 'Knowledge Unlatched' is a consortium of libraries which pays a Title Fee which gives them unrestricted Creative Commons access to Open Access monograph books, allowing people to access scholarly publications to downloaded and read. The more libraries join and pay the fixed amount Title Fee, the cheaper the book. Its aim is to find a sustainable route to monograph OA, especially for the Humanities and Social Sciences sector, spreading costs across many institutions globally.

Firstly, a small proof of concept pilot was conducted, using 28 new books from 13 publishers, in literature, history, politics, media and communications with an average title fee being $12000, split amongst the 200 libraries who needed to sign up. In the end, nearly 300 libraries in 24 countries joined the pilot, taking the cost down to $40 per title per library, with an average title fee of £8,000. Knowledge Unlatched has become a real community of libraries and publishers and includes 77 UK libraries.

Now the results are being reviewed and a report will be made available in June this year. It is now planned that:
- The cycle will be repeated with more publishers and titles involved;
- Small single subject specific options will be developed and offered;
- More libraries will be recruited;
- Work more with existing consortia.

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