Knowledge Unlatched


Mission: Open Access to scholarly books

The current system for publishing scholarly books is not working for anyone, and especially not for monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Knowledge Unlatched is committed to changing this. KU believes that by working together libraries can create a sustainable route to Open Access for scholarly books and secure long-term cost savings for their own institutions by sharing the costs of making HSS monographs available on a Creative Commons license. Supporting Open Access through Knowledge Unlatched will not cost more than simply purchasing a more traditionally published title.

Over the past few decades the market for monographs has shrunk by around 90%. Many libraries are unable to afford even a small collection of specialist research books. Individual readers who do not have access to a well-funded library are generally unable to afford to buy titles that they want or need. A broken academic publishing model is preventing, rather than facilitating, the spread of human knowledge. The situation is especially grave for researchers and communities in the developing world, but the monograph crisis is affecting authors and readers in all markets.

Until now more than 300 libraries and consortia worldwide did join KU and far more will do so, you can be part of it as well.


Knowledge Unlatched, how it works

Participating publishers provide monographs which they release for a fixed amount as a creative commons license. A by KU proposed committee of librarians decides about the selection of titles, prepackages a collection and offers it to libraries worldwide during one funding round. During the pledging period of one funding round, which has a certain timeframe given, libraries can contribute the financing of the open access licenses in form of a pledge. The more libraries that declare their participation the lower the costs get for each library.


Knowledge Unlatched, facts and figures

• So far 2 funding rounds have been successfully completed
• The 2nd round provided 78 front list titles from 26 publishers in 8 different collections
   – one pledge costed around $ 3900 per library
   – the average price per title was allocated by approx. $ 55
   – 300+ libraries and consortia all over the world did support the financing of providing all these titles open access
• Provision of marc records
• Discovery of the titles in OCLC WorldCat, Proquest Summon and EBSCO A-to-Z
• Provision of the e-books via OAPEN and HathiTrust


Knowledge Unlatched, outlook for the 3rd funding round

• 3rd round is in preparation and the chosen titles and collection will be defined in July 2016 from 53 publishers
   from 5 continents, covering 17 subject areas in Humanities & Social Sciences
• Backlist titles are available in round 3
• Around 150 front list and 200 back list titles will be provided by KU
• What is new is that titles can be chosen on a pick and choose basis, but 90% of all front- or backlist titles
   need to be elected at least
• The average price per front list title will be around $55 and for back list $13.75
• Pledging and registering will be possible from 1st of September 2016 until 31th of January 2017 here: If you wish to preregister before August 2016 you can create
   a non-binding account under the same link. You just enter your name, email address and library name and
   you will receive notifications when the collection is open.
• If you buy also the print books you've chosen in KU, publishers will grant you 35% discount on this print books


Karger Libri, exclusive distribution partner of KU in the following countries:

• Thailand
• Russia
• Israel
• Singapore
• Turkey



Karger Libri is the exclusive contact person for the above territories in terms of all your requests, consulting and invoicing. Please get back to us if you do have questions or if you need title lists of any round.

The KU model has the potential to transform access to knowledge and ideas contained in book-length scholarly publications and allows libraries to act as catalysts in a shift to Open Access. Libraries engaging with Knowledge Unlatched will be creating a future that includes free access to high quality scholarly books for readers all over the world.

This is an initiative that depends on libraries working together for the benefit of the whole community. We need your support to ensure that humanities and social science books are not left behind in the shift to Open Access. You can be a part of it!


Please address your question to:
Yvonne Berger
Managing Director
t +41 61 306 15 75

Karger Libri Internationale Zeitschriftenagentur AG
Allschwilerstrasse 10 ∙ 4009 Basel ∙ Schweiz
t +41 61 306 15 00 ∙ f +41 61 306 12 34 ∙