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University of Michigan Press

Knowledge Unlatched–a project to fund open access monographs in the humanities and social sciences published by academic presses—has released its pilot collection, twenty-eight new books from thirteen presses. The University of Michigan Press is excited to participate in this project, with the inclusion of three titles:

Law, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Terrorism, Roger Douglas
Roger Douglas compares responses to terrorism by five liberal democracies—the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—over the past 15 years. He examines each nation’s development and implementation of counterterrorism law, specifically in the areas of information-gathering, the definition of terrorist offenses, due process for the accused, detention, and torture and other forms of coercive questioning.

Passionate Amateurs: Theatre, Communism, and Love, Nicholas Ridout
Passionate Amateurs is a work of historical materialist theater scholarship, which combines a materialism grounded in a socialist tradition of cultural studies with some of the insights developed in recent years by theorists of affect, and addresses some fundamental questions about the social function and political potential of theater within modern capitalism. Ridout argues that theater in modern capitalism can help us think afresh about notions of work, time, and freedom.

Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy, Erik J. Engstrom
Engstrom evaluates the abundant cross-sectional and temporal variation in redistricting plans and their electoral results from all the states, from 1789 through the 1960s, to identify the causes and consequences of partisan redistricting. His analysis reveals that districting practices across states and over time systematically affected the competitiveness of congressional elections; shaped the partisan composition of congressional delegations; and, on occasion, determined party control of the House of Representatives.

The Knowledge Unlatched model is based on the idea of libraries paying a “Title Fee” to a publisher in return for that book being made available as downloadable PDF using a Creative Commons licence. The Title Fee is meant to represent the cost of publishing a book. It is a fixed amount, and as more libraries participate in Knowledge Unlatched, the cost of opening up each title decreases for participants.

The University of Michigan Press is participating in Knowledge Unlatched because we feel strongly that publishing–whatever form it takes, be it print or digital–will continue to be a core activity in the scholarly community. Publishing encourages the creation of new knowledge, and as such it is the cornerstone of the academic enterprise. However, publishing costs money, and we believe that the economics of academic publishing must change to ensure its survival. Knowledge Unlatched represents one way for libraries and their home institutions to fund this core activity of the scholarly process, to ensure that presses can continue to produce and distribute high-quality scholarship now and in the future, while simultaneously making that scholarship open and accessible to the broadest possible audience.

Titles included in Knowledge Unlatched’s pilot collection can be viewed online. For more details on the project, including how libraries can pledge to fund these titles, see the Knowledge Unlatched press release.

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