UC has become a charter member of Knowledge Unlatched (KU), a promising new open access initiative, with an innovative business model for the publication of scholarly books in the social sciences and humanities.
How does the Knowledge Unlatched model work? Participating publishers offer new titles to KU. Libraries pledge a capped amount (title fee) to unlatch each book and make it open access via the OAPEN Library and the Hathi Trust Digital Library. The more libraries that pledge, the lower the fee, and participating libraries receive records for their online catalogs.
Knowledge Unlatched recently announced that 296 libraries, from 24 countries, have pledged to participate, 50% more than what is needed to unlatch the Pilot Collection. For the Pilot, 13 publishers have offered 28 books in literature, history, politics, media, and communication. All have Creative Commons licenses. Included among the 28 is a new book by UCSB faculty member Cynthia Skenazi, Aging Gracefully in the Renaissance: Stories of Later Life from Petrarch to Montaigne, published by Brill. Participating libraries that purchase KU titles in print or as ebooks through other channels receive a credit for that title. The Knowledge Unlatched model promises to transform the scholarly publishing market by lowering costs for libraries, ensuring an income stream for publishers, and building new audiences for specialized titles through open access.