Going Open Access

The year 2021 did not only start with heavy snowfall where I live (30 centimentres of precipitation and -14° Celsius are quite unusual) and an ever-prolonging pandemic situation, but also with a surprise bit of academic news:

The volume I co-edited with Gesa Mackenthun in 2015 called Fugitive Knowledge has been re-published as open access. The editorial Waxmann informed us last year that the book had been selected by a company called Knowledge Unlatched (KU) to be bought out from Waxmann for open access publication.

KU is an initiative-turned-for-profit-company in Berlin that organises libraries to funnel their budgets into buying books from editors to make them open access. And, I guess, their business model includes some fee here or there for their services.

As far as I understood it, KU has two listings (long list and short list), which are comprised of titles people nominate for open access (long list) and the selection KU prioritises (short list). According to the money KU raises from libraries and other partners, the books on the short list are then “unlatched”. In the 2020-round, this resulted in “about 310 books and 34 journals” becoming open access, according to KU.

This pattern seems to indicate that the book passed a double bottleneck: First, at least one person deemed Fugitive Knowledge interesting enough to become freely available and took the initiative to put it on the list (and although I think the same, this person wasn’t me). And secondly, some guys from KU or somewhere decided that this first person was indeed right and that humanity would stride forwards even more quickly in the right direction if that book was only more widely read. That, or Waxmann threw it in for (almost) nothing during negotiations.

However the case might have been, after this rather long announcement, it is with great pleasure to reveal where Fugitive Knowledge can be downloaded for free. And, of course, be read and cited afterwards.

Here you can get the volume as a pdf under Creative Commons-licence (CC-BY-NC-SA).


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