Friday, December 05, 2014

Free text books online!


Imagine if those text books you need for your classes that so far have only ever been available as print copies costing $100s were to become open access ebooks (i.e. available for unlimited downloads on your device)?

It’d be great, right? 
Image source: http://www.knowledgeunlatched.org/2014/10/oa-meme-comp-winners/#!prettyPhoto

The CSU Library and other libraries think this too and have supported an international pilot by Knowledge Unlatched for 28 books to become ‘unlatched’. This unlatching involves Knowledge Unlatched paying a  fee to the publisher in return for the publisher making the book available on a Creative Commons Licence via OAPEN and HathiTrust as a fully downloadable PDF.

All but one of the books in the KU Pilot Collection are available on Creative Commons Non-Commercial licences that allow for sharing with others, as long as it is for non-commercial purposes. This means that users have permission to share PDFs with each other directly via email or messenger.

These items are listed in PrimoSearch. A full list of titles made available is on the Knowledge Unlatched website 

Almost 13,000 downloads of KU Pilot Collection titles so far. The pilot project was supported by 137 North American libraries, 77 UK libraries , 27 Australian & New Zealand libraries and 55 from the rest of the world all working together to make the Pilot Collection Open Access

For more info about Knowledge unlatched go their website 
There's also a brief video on Knowledge Unlatched.

Why is there a push for Open Access eBooks?

Book prices particularly in humanities and social sciences have spiralled upwards over the years and libraries (and students) are increasingly unable to afford specialist research books. If libraries work together sharing the costs of making books available electronically on a Creative Commons licence (http://creativecommons.org.au/learn/licences/) the costs of securing these same books for individual libraries decreases

What next?

These books are available for download from Primo or OAPEN. Use them, and share appropriately.

Later in 2014 Knowledge Unlatched will move into its next stage: scaling-up, involving a larger number of publishers and libraries in the project and providing libraries with a wider range of selection options.


Image source: http://www.knowledgeunlatched.org/2014/10/oa-meme-comp-winners/#!prettyPhoto

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