Knowledge Unlatched Renews Two Successful Open Access Collections, Ensuring Sustainability of Open Research Worldwide

Knowledge Unlatched Logo.

Berlin, March 26, 2020: Knowledge Unlatched (KU), the international initiative for Open Access (OA), is pleased to announce renewals of two successful Open Access collections from 2017, both of which were launched as pilot projects for three-year funding models: Language Science Press (LSP) Books and KU Select 2017 HSS Journals.

The two collections garnered significant support from libraries around the world, ensuring that 90 books in the field of linguistics (LSP) and 16 Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) journals were able to be unlatched for the three-year period of 2018–2020 and made freely available to researchers everywhere. Now that the three years are coming to an end, KU has established a viable renewal process to ensure that the publication of LSP books and relevant HSS journals continues for at least another three years.

In order to guarantee a sustainable OA model, KU is renewing both collections into a second round for the years 2021-2023 and inviting libraries worldwide to once again take part in these ground-breaking crowdfunding models. The funds libraries contribute in 2020 will support the unlatching of 90 new books (30 per year) in linguistics, and five HSS journals for at least three more years. The funds will also ensure that there are no article processing charges (APCs) for scholars for either collection.

LSP is the leading academic-led OA initiative in linguistics and much of its success is due to the very active community of linguists, totalling over 1,000 members from over 50 countries. This community has played an active role in promoting the LSP initiative, resulting in the support from 105 institutions worldwide in the first round. “LSP has shown how community-based publishing can provide an excellent alternative to traditional models. With a focus on excellence, transparency and participation, we have been able to publish quality books free of charge to both authors and readers, ” said Sebastian Nordhoff, LSP’s Managing Director. “Further, our approach has resulted in costs per book which are about 50% of the commercial competition, showing a way out of the ever-increasing library budget issues.”

The KU Select 2017 HSS Journals collection was the first of KU’s journals models and acted thus as a test case for flipping HSS journals to an Open Access, APC-free model. KU’s research has shown that the five journals to be renewed have grown in size and relevance over the last four years (source: The SNIP of these five journals has grown on average by 85% over the period investigated. For example, SAGE’s Research Ethics journal shows a SNIP growth of almost 200%, while Brill’s Journal of Language Contact has grown by 33% in the number of articles published.

“Thanks to the support of existing and new library subscribers, we were able to flip three journals which have limited access to funding for APCs. This not only resulted in a growth of relevance and usage of the flipped journals, but it also showed that the KU model can be successfully expanded from books to journal collections,” said Jasmine Lange, Brill’s Chief Publishing Officer. “We look forward to a long-term cooperation with libraries and KU to make open access work for all scholarly communities.”

The journals model has proven to be less applicable to a pure Gold OA publisher with strong growth ambitions, such as MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute). For this reason, KU will focus its efforts on finding transformative models for journals that are based on more traditional publishing models, including closed and hybrid models.

About Knowledge Unlatched: Knowledge Unlatched is committed to open access to academic content for readers and researchers around the world. Its online platform is the central point of contact for libraries worldwide to support open access models, book and journal collections of leading publishing houses and various OA initiatives.


Philipp Hess, Publisher Relations