Amherst College Librarian Bryn Geffert recently weighed in a new open-access startup looking to connect publishers with libraries.
Amherst’s library is among some 300 which have signed up with Knowledge Unlatched, a non-profit which pools money to pay publishers title fees for scholarly books that librarians select. These become Creative Commons-licensed, DRM-free PDFs available for free download.
Geffert told the Chronicle of Higher Education that Amherst’s involvement is in line with the college’s supporting “every OA initiative we can,” in search of good models.
He has some reservations about KU’s model while supporting the basic idea.
“What I like about the KU model is also what troubles me about the KU model—namely, the decision to let libraries ‘vote' on which books to ‘unlatch,'” he said. “There's a certain appeal in choosing titles through democratic principles—it's hard to argue with democracy.” But the topics with fewer votes could suffer, he said.
“Scholarship about issues in the developing world is particularly ‘unpopular,' and yet such scholarship—whose natural audience lives in the developing world—is in particular need of being ‘unlatched,'” he said.