Germany’s Knowledge Unlatched Starts Its 2021 Open Access Funding Round

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The bid to convert more scholarly titles to open access continues, as Knowledge Unlatched seeks cooperation from a widening array of libraries.

A federal health ministry public service announcement on a tower of the Berlin Cathedral on April 25 reads “#Armelhoch für die Corona-Schutzimpfung,” essentially, “Roll up your sleeve for the coronavirus vaccination.” Image – iStockphoto: Lichtwolke

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Climate Change Leads the ‘Focus Collection’
Berlin’s Knowledge Unlatched has today (May 4) announced the opening of its 2021 funding round, the eighth in this international open access initiative’s operation.

The round includes its legacy “Select Humanities and Social Sciences Books” collection and several new collections developed in partnerships with academic publishers and university presses, including University of Michigan Press, Amsterdam University Press, Central European University Press, and EDP Sciences.

You can see the company’s “Pledging Brochure” with pricing and subject information here (PDF).

Knowledge Unlatched  is continuing its thematic approach to pledging in 2021. This means that pledging libraries can select the appropriate collections based on their preferred subject areas such as history, politics, communications, linguistics, STEM, and so on.

As in previous years, this year’s collections have been assessed and selected by librarians based on their relevance. Indeed, in putting together the core topical groups, input has been sought from more than 200 subject specialists who respond as members of a Knowledge Unlatched selection committee. They’ve effectively curated the content for the “Select Humanities and Social Sciences” 2022 collection.

What’s more, a new cooperation with Verfassungsblog—which is supported by the Center for Global Constituionalism—has extended Knowledge Unlatched ’s open access activities into the medium of peer-reviewed blog posts in constitutional law and politics, while Knowledge Unlatched’s “Focus Collection” offers a targeted collection of 20 cutting-edge new titles on climate change.

Below is a graphic from the “Focus Collection” that indicates how Climate Change comes to be its top element, leading digitalization, equality, and gender studies as the nearest contenders this year.

Results of anonymized votes for this year’s ‘Focus Collection’ at Knowledge Unlatched, putting climate change in the lead among topics. Image: Knowledge Unlatched

Knowledge Unlatched  maintains established working relationships in this quarter with University of California Press (Luminos); Open Commons of Phenomenology; Routledge (gender studies and African studies); HAU Books; IWAP, Berghahn; Pluto Press, Transcript, and WBV.

Sven Fund

In a comment issued to the news media, Knowledge Unlatched managing director Sven Fund says, “We are highly motivated by library support of our initiatives, even amid ongoing restrictions related to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“The past year has shown the importance of uninhibited access to quality research content, and Knowledge Unlatched will continue to do its part.”

To date, Knowledge Unlatched reports that it has worked with more than 100 publishers to “flip” more than 2,700 books and more than 50 journals to open access status, in various cooperative associations with more than 630 institutions in many parts of the world.

The number of user interactions—including downloads and views—for Knowledge Unlatched titles has grown, the company says, by 20 percent each year and now stands at some 10 million.

The Coronavirus in Germany

At this writing, the 5:20 a.m.ET (0920 GMT) update of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees 3,440,080 cases in Germany’s population of 83 million, with 83,609 fatalities.

These numbers retain Germany at the current 10th place in the world for COVID-19 caseloads and ninth in terms of death tolls.

There’s major disappointment, of course, in the news that Germany’s Oktoberfest in Munich has been canceled for a second time. Scheduled to run September 18 to October 3, the enormous and raucous gathering, according to the Bavarian president Markus Söder, is simply too big to confirm with certainty this year. Oktoberfest, as reported by EuroNews today, can draw more than 6.3 million people each year.

EuroNews’ staff writes, “Germany is currently in the middle of a lockdown that includes a ban on large gatherings, with an infection rate of 146.9 new weekly infections per 100,000 residents. Bavaria is slightly below the national average with 145.4 new weekly infections per 100,000, according to the country’s disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute.”

As Philip Oltermann is reporting from Berlin for The Guardian this morning, controversy continues to surround the German vaccination effort. “A German ‘jab to freedom’ bill that would from this weekend lift social-distancing rules, testing requirements, and curfews for people who have been fully vaccinated,” Oltermann writes, “is drawing criticism for discriminating against young people still months from getting their first dose.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on academic and scholarly publishing is here, more from us on Knowledge Unlatched is here, and more from us on open access is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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