About KU Research

We believe that research in the Humanities and Social Sciences is important, that access to it should be maximised and that books have a place in a digital world.

About KU Research


We also believe that the best way to ensure that Knowledge Unlatched contributes to an open, sustainable future for the Humanities and Social Sciences is by engaging with researchers, librarians and publishers to tackle the big questions facing scholarly communication in the twenty-first century.

The Knowledge Unlatched Research programme is being coordinated by Associate Professor Lucy Montgomery and involves internationally recognised leaders in research on open business models, digital technology, scholarly communication and copyright.

  • Read our news story about the establishment of KU Research here
  • An update about the progress of KU Research has been published here

Current Research Projects

Landscape Study on OA Monographs


The primary goal of the Landscape study is to gather comparable data and analysis of the KE countries (Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark) plus Norway, Austria and France. This includes the costs of OA books; the fees being charged for OA books; the range of non-BPC models; the adoption of OA policies for books by funders (both public and private), universities, and publishers. An overview of OA book publishing will be presented through a typology of book publishers, their business models, and OA book publishing models and policies that brings out the various national differences as well as similarities.

Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN), Frances Pinter (Knowledge Unlatched) and Niels Stern (Nordic Council of Ministers) are acting as joint Principal Investigators, with support from Lucy Montgomery (Knowledge Unlatched/Curtin University) and Ronald Snijder (OAPEN).

Financial support for the study comes from Knowledge Exchange (KE), the Current Research Information System in Norway (CRIStin), the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), and the French library consortium Couperin.

KU Research part of European Union funded Open Access project: OPERAS-D


KU Research is delighted to be part of the European Commission eInfrastructure Science Cloud project Design for Open Access Publications in European Research Areas for Social Sciences –OPERAS-D. The European Union has committed €408,000 to this important initiative, commencing in January 2017.

KU is one of 5 partner organisations involved in the OPERAS-D project, working with the National Centre for Scientific Research (France); the National Hellenic Research Foundation (Greece); the OAPEN Foundation (Netherlands); the Foundation German Humanities Institutes Abroad (Germany). Together, these partners are working towards robust e-infrastructure for Open Access publications in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731031.

Usage Statistics


Quarterly usage statistics reports for the 28 books in the Pilot Collection are being published in our Usage Statistics section on an quarterly basis. Usage statistics for the 78 books in the Round 2 Collection will be published towards the early 2017 as they are still in the process of being unlatched.

KU is now working with Curtin University based Data Analysis Tool Developer Alkim Ozaygen to develop a dashboard that will allow authors, publishers and libraries to view blended usage data for each of the books made Open Access through KU. We are in the process of activating the new system and we are looking forward to sharing title-specific usage dashboards with authors over the next few months: allowing KU Pilot Collection authors to see where their books have been downloaded since they were made Open Access. We believe that this feedback will be a powerful incentive for authors to make books Open Access: providing them with rich information about who is interested in their work and where it is being read.

We are also exploring the role that KU usage data may play in the emerging field of altmetrics. To date, altmetrics has focussed on the journal literature and largely ignored books: in part because data about books has been hard to access. This is an important space that KU hopes to engage with as it moves forward.

UCL Press Usage Study


KU Research has been working with UCL Press and a team of researchers based at the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University to explore the dissemination and impact of UCL Press books.

In May 2016 UCL Press invited Knowledge Unlatched Research to carry out a preliminary study of the dissemination and impact of UCL titles. The study, carried out in partnership with the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University, explores the digital footprint of UCL Press’s open access books in their first year online. The project focuses on what usage data can tell us about how where and how UCL Press books are being read; the efficacy of digital distribution approaches currently being used; and the impact of key events on the use of OA titles.

KU Research and UCL Press are now working to finalise a public version of the project report, to be released in the next few months.

Surveying the Scalability of OA Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences


In June of 2016 the University of Michigan Library (U-M Library) and Knowledge Unlatched (KU) began a collaboration “to study and overcome remaining obstacles to the spread of Open Access (OA) scholarly publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).” We are now very pleased to announce that one product of this partnership will be a survey of academic librarians in the United States conducted by Christopher Barnes, PhD, a fellow at U-M Library and an LIS student in the School of Information.

The survey, to be released towards the end of November, will target librarians involved in the decision-making process behind participation in OA initiatives targeting monographs in the HSS. Librarians currently considering joining an OA initiative, or who have declined to join, are also encouraged to participate. The goal is to determine the major impediments to the scalability of initiatives like KU from the perspective of collections staff, both in terms of increasing the number of participating libraries and the percentage of OA HSS monographs in their collections. Financial and budgetary concerns will of course feature prominently in the study, but so too will issues like discoverability, preservation, and workflow.

Dr. Barnes will conduct a series of follow-up interviews in early 2017 to add context and nuance to the survey responses. He will complete his work in the early spring, present his findings to U-M Library and KU on 10 May, and then hopes to publish in a scholarly journal.

Past Research Projects

KU Pilot Research Project


A critical programme of research was carried out alongside the Knowledge Unlatched Pilot. This research was intended to:

  1. Inform the activities and model of the Pilot and subsequent scaling up
  2. Take advantage of the unique opportunity to gather and interrogate data on a large scale Open Access experiment
  3. Raise awareness of the Knowledge Unlatched project within relevant communities of scholarship, and provide pathways for their engagement. “Knowledge Unlatched: A Global Library Consortium Model for Funding Open Access Scholarly Books.

KU/Berkman Center for Internet and Society 2013 Workshop Report


On 19 June 2013 Knowledge Unlatched and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law University jointly convened a one-day workshop titled Open Access and Scholarly Books in Cambridge, MA.

The workshop brought together a group of 21 invited publishers, librarians, academics and Open Access innovators to discuss the challenge of making scholarly books Open Access. This report captures discussions that took place on the day.