Wiley Acquires Open Access Innovator Knowledge Unlatched

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Dear global KU-Community,

After much careful consideration, I have decided to accept an offer from Wiley to sell Knowledge Unlatched. As KU operates at a very special intersection in the publishing environment, it is important to me personally that you should understand the motivation behind this second change in ownership in the company’s history.

When I bought KU in 2016 from its founder Frances Pinter, I did so with the intention of further developing this much-needed intermediary to facilitate the transition to open access for as many publishers as possible. I continue to believe wholeheartedly in this mission, and there is still a long journey ahead of us.

After more than two decades of OA there is still a lot to be done, despite all the progress that has been made. We at KU have been able to operate pretty much on a shoestring for quite some time, due to the very limited financial and time resources which have been at my disposal. I have always referred to KU as my “hobby” and have never taken a salary from it, but have held a parallel position to earn a living.

The true engine behind KU is the highly dedicated team, of which I am immensely proud. It gives me great pleasure that virtually everybody in the industry shares this view and entrusts this small team with exciting and challenging projects year after year.

I am convinced that in every company’s life, there are key transitional moments where an owner must realize that it is time to pass on responsibilities. KU has already experienced this once in 2016, and I would argue that the results for the industry were overwhelmingly positive. And now it is happening again, in order to help this small company unlatch its full potential. Wiley and KU share a commitment to making open access simple and easy for everyone. Wiley’s scale, combined with their culture of partnership and commitment to open access, made them the right choice for taking KU to the next level. Wiley has the resources to back this development – resources which are not, nor ever will be, at my disposal.

My conversations with the Wiley team have been based around the values that are at KU’s core and that I never want to see compromised. Interoperability, openness and bibliodiversity have always been at the core of our activities, as has the entrepreneurial spirit and quest for sustainability in a field that is largely dominated by state-sponsored initiatives that do not have to earn the money they spend.

After the handover to Wiley, a dream will be coming true for me. I can finally devote 100% of my time to Knowledge Unlatched and fully implement what we have started. That said I have enough business experience to know the future will not be without new challenges. But I also know that bringing together the right people with the resources needed to achieve their plans can make a huge difference.

You are an integral part of KU’s journey. I trust you will be as excited as we are about these developments, and we are all very much looking forward to continuing to work with you to make open access the standard in scholarly publishing.

All the best

Sven Fund

Sven Fund

Managing Director, Knowledge Unlatched

Specialties: Scientific Publishing, Change Management, Leadership, Open Access, Startups