Free access to scientific content is often limited due to the fragile technical infrastructure around it: content is stored in a variety of versions at various locations and without any uniform search functionalities. The Open Access initiative Knowledge Unlatched has addressed this growing problem and is now launching the Open Research Library together with several international partners. Its goal is to unite all Open Access (OA) book content over the coming months. To this end the Open Research Library is working with publishers and libraries worldwide and is open to all providers and users of quality-assured research content.
Around 15,000 to 20,000 books have been published Open Access worldwide to date, freely available to users all over the world, and about 4,000 more are added every year. Currently these titles are offered for use by scientists on numerous different publishing and distribution websites. The aim of this new initiative is to combine all available book content under one search and hosting interface and to ensure that the provision of corresponding catalogue data is made available to library systems. The hosting of all book content is free of charge. In order to finance the ongoing technical costs Knowledge Unlatched will initiate a partner project to secure the necessary funding.
In addition to Knowledge Unlatched, the following infrastructure partners are contributing different services: BiblioLabs (hosting, app & technology), the North American consortium LYRASIS, EBSCO (indexing in EBSCO Discovery Service), ProQuest (indexing in the Ex Libris Primo and Summon library discovery services), the Internet Archive, Google (indexing in Google Scholar), Digital Public Library of America, OCLC (Creation of MARC records and indexing in WorldCat and WorldCat discovery), Researcher App (further distribution covering 950,000 researchers) and numerous publishers.