Knowledge Unlatched Presents Open Access Heroes 2021

KU Heroes 2021

Berlin, February 23rd, 2021: Knowledge Unlatched (KU), the international initiative for Open Access (OA), is pleased to announce OA Heroes 2021, which highlights the countries, institutions, publishers, disciplines, and authors seeing the most usage of scholarly titles made OA through KU. The number of total interactions (including downloads and views) for KU titles has grown year on year by 20 percent and now stands at ten million. On average, each title gets 2,200 user interactions.

Over 2,000 books have been published OA to date owing to KU’s initiatives, and this number will grow to 2,700 titles by the end of 2021. It is also worth noting that nearly 6,500 institutions worldwide used KU books last year. The most popular discipline was English Language and Literature, with almost 1.5 million interactions.

“We are encouraged to see that the usage of the titles we unlatch each year continues to grow,” says Dr. Sven Fund, KU’s Managing Director. “Last year, in particular, taught us that open science advances knowledge in all disciplines, both inside and outside the confines of the scholarly community.”

The countries that continue to see the highest usage of OA books include the United States (33 percent), the United Kingdom (9.5 percent), Germany (8.5 percent), India (4 percent), and Canada (4 percent), while the academic institutions with the most user interactions include King’s College, University of Toronto, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, and New York University.

The book with the most interactions in 2020 was Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (MIT Press), with nearly 55,000 interactions, followed by William A. Pelz’s A People’s History of Modern Europe (Pluto Press) and Heike Paul’s The Myths That Made America (transcript), with nearly 42,000 and 33,000 interactions, respectively.

This year’s OA usage assessment results are based on the data collected from several hosting platforms, including OAPEN, JSTOR, Project MUSE, and the Open Research Library.

An infographic that presents the usage data in one place can be downloaded from the Open Research Community website.

About Knowledge Unlatched

Knowledge Unlatched offers free access to scholarly content for every reader across the world. Its crowdfunding OA models provide libraries worldwide with a central place to support OA content publishing from leading publishers in a wide range of HSS and STEM disciplines.


Philipp Hess,