Knowledge Unlatched Pilot Collection to become Open Access – Nearly 300 libraries globally pledge their support


Knowledge Unlatched (KU) is pleased to announce that its Pilot Collection of 28 new books from 13 recognised scholarly publishers will become Open Access. The KU Pilot Collection is the first step in creating a sustainable route to Open Access for Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) books. Support from a minimum of 200 libraries willing to participate in the KU Pilot was required in order to achieve this goal. This target was exceeded by almost half, with close to 300 libraries from 24 countries joining KU in support of its shared cost approach to Open Access for specialist scholarly books.

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Knowledge Unlatched is a truly global initiative, involving 137 participating libraries from North America, 77 from the UK, 27 from Australia and New Zealand and 55 from the rest of the world all working together to make the Pilot Collection Open Access.

Everyone, anywhere in the world, will soon be able to access the KU Pilot Collection books for free on the following websites: OAPEN, HathiTrust and the British Library.

Titles in the Pilot Collection will be discoverable in the Directory of Open Access Books and WorldCat. All of the titles will be preserved via the British Library, CLOCKSS, HathiTrust, and Portico.

Frances Pinter, Executive Director of KU, said,
“Through successfully reaching the target set for the Pilot, we have established proof of concept that libraries and publishers can work together to fund the publication of high quality specialist scholarly books and make them Open Access. This ensures that in the digital world we are not just replicating the old print model, but that we can indeed do better and contribute to breaking down what is fast becoming a new digital divide. Because the target number of 200 participating libraries was exceeded, the amount that each library is paying per title was reduced from the target average price of $60.00 to under $43.00.”

KU would like to thank its partners for their support in making the Pilot project a success:
CLOCKSS, HathiTrust, JISC Collections, LYRASIS, Max Planck Society, New York Public Library, OAPEN and Portico. Key support from Queensland University of Technology, The University of Melbourne and The University of Western Australia, as well as The Big Innovation Centre, British Library Trust and Open Society Foundation also proved invaluable. Additional support came from HEFCE in England, SFC in Scotland and DEL in Northern Ireland.

KU would also like to acknowledge the commitment of the global library community to supporting Open Access for HSS monographs, as well as the good will of the publishers and authors who took part in the Pilot.

Libraries can register their interest in receiving information for the next rounds of Knowledge Unlatched at Publishers wishing to know more about offering books to libraries via Knowledge Unlatched should contact


Knowledge Unlatched is committed to creating a positive change in scholarly communication landscapes by helping libraries to share the costs of publishing high quality specialist scholarly books and making them available in Open Access. By working together libraries and publishers can create a sustainable route to Open Access for scholarly books.

Contact information

Dr.Lucy Montgomery
Deputy Director, Knowledge Unlatched

Celeste Feather
Senior Licensing Program Account Manager, LYRASIS

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