Why Should Libraries and Authors Participate in Open Access Pledging Frameworks?

The benefits of transitioning scholarly works into Open Access.
Why Should Libraries and Authors Participate in Open Access Pledging Frameworks?

The participation of Knowledge Unlatched (KU) stakeholders in its pledging frameworks supports an ever-growing number of institutions that switch to Open Access. This allows these organizations to deploy their acquisition funds for transiting Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) book titles into Open Access.

For participating institutions, this involves lower expenses than the purchase of single print copies and/or of e-books. In addition, the participation in KU pledging programs equally benefits all scholarly communities around the world, because the corresponding KU collections are in Open Access. 

Thus, KU pledging:

  • Provides an opportunity for libraries to support the shift to Open Access for HSS monographs and journals;
  • Enables libraries to contribute to fulfilling the requirements of Open Access mandates that apply in their jurisdictions;
  • Offers one of the most optimal ways for acquisitioning high-quality books and journals at affordable prices;
  • Allows librarians to have curated KU Select collections to give these a global appeal, e.g., in 2017 the KU selection committee comprised 40 acquisitions and/or collections librarians from 12 countries;
  • Enables a flexible customization of its offerings, such as through pick and choose options;
  • Provides early invoicing possibilities upon request;
  • Supplies participating libraries with access to their collection usage statistics;
  • Involves no access embargos, as its books are free from Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions;
  • Gives libraries a possibility to receive high-quality MARC records for collection monographs;
  • Includes discounts on purchases of books in other formats from publishers in recognition of KU framework participation;
  • Offers involvement in the formation of future KU Select collections;
  • Permits steering selection processes at KU through the nomination and voting functions of its Library Steering Committee and Title Selection Committee.

For authors, publishing in Open Access involves significant benefits, due to the following reasons.

  • Open Access collections are uniquely suited for increasing the discoverability of scholarly works, since it enables their hosting, indexing, preservation and archiving across multiple platforms;
  • Open Access facilitates the sharing of scientific monographs and articles with peers and across personal or professional networks;
  • Along an increase in citation counts, this format also promotes the global dissemination of scholarly publications;
  • It removes barriers for readers, since Open Access requires neither paywalls, nor log-in accounts;
  • It fulfils both governmental mandates for compliance with Open Access principles and the Open Access requirements that funders increasingly impose on the publication results for the research they support;
  • Likewise, it opens up publication readership to audiences outside of traditional markets;
  • Digital publications demonstrate higher usage rates in comparison to print format sales, as, within the first two years, KU Open Access books are downloaded on average 3,000 times, which is significantly more frequent than the average sales figures for a closed-access book, such as 200-300 copies;
  • Open Access publications also aid with career progression, e.g., toward receiving a tenured position;
  • Additionally, publishing in Open Access is strongly likely to lead to an increase in print sales, as Open Access versions can act as a marketing tool for the corresponding academic works.

Written by Nina Weisweiler

Edited by Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: Group on Earth Observations Summit in Geneva,  January 14, 2014 | © Courtesy of U.S. Mission Photo/Eric Bridiers/United States Mission Geneva/Flickr.

This post is based on information materials originally published in knowledgeunlatched.org.

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