Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education's bookmark collection 2014-04-01


"Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money to pay publishers a title fee for each of those books. The title fees are meant to cover the cost of publishing each book; publishers calculate what they think is fair and share those estimates with the Knowledge Unlatched group.

In return for the title fees, the publishers make Creative Commons-licensed, DRM-free PDFs of the selected books available for free download through the OAPEN digital platform (OAPEN stands for Open Access Publishing in European Networks), the HathiTrust digital repository, and eventually the British Library...

If participation rates count as a measure of success, the pilot stage has gone well. Knowledge Unlatched hoped to recruit 200 libraries in time to unveil the pilot collection at the end of February, but about 300 libraries signed up, according to Lucy Montgomery, the project’s deputy director. (She is also a research fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, which subsidizes her salary.)

“We exceeded our target by 50 percent,” Ms. Montgomery said. That’s reduced the title-fee cost to about $43 per library per book, she said. The pilot collection contains 28 books, not all of them published yet, from 13 academic presses. “On average, the publishers will receive $12,000 for making the book open access,” she said. “That’s a fantastic chunk of money”—enough, Knowledge Unlatched’s organizers hope, to reassure publishers that they don’t have to go out of business to support open access."


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Date tagged:

04/01/2014, 08:33

Date published:

04/01/2014, 04:33