Tuesday 17th September 2019
Tell us a little about your role at OpenAthens
I’m international sales manager at the company. We have two very distinct areas that we focus on, one concerns libraries and access to information, and the other is publishers which is the side that I work on.
My job is mainly focused on gaining new business, so I travel to a lot of events and meet with a variety of people in the publishing industry. I get to learn a lot about the publishing industry, hearing what’s important to publishers and feeding that back to the rest of the team. No two days are ever the same which keeps things interesting!
There are different motivations for publishers when you compare it to those of libraries; libraries often focus on their users, carefully spending their limited budget on procuring content and ensuring they get maximum value from their purchases.
Publishers are mainly interested in getting access to a wider audience and increasing engagement with their content. Many are now aiming further than the traditional academic market as it is so competitive. A large percentage of publishers now license their content into other, more commercial markets. In a similar vein, OpenAthens operates globally across multiple markets, so our products can help publishers attract this wider audience.
Since I started two years ago, we have really transformed our way of working. We are an AGILE team with dedicated development for both product suites, this enables us to enhance and improve our products at a much faster rate. We’ve also seen huge investment in personnel across the business, as we grow this will help us meet the different priorities of those we work with.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I’m massively into football; I play two times a week and have done since I was about 13. I don’t follow it as much as I play (or at least not to the point where I will just talk about it endlessly at the pub!).
On a more creative level, I enjoy pottery which I appreciate is very different to football but something I also think is very important in my life. It’s good to have a creative outlet if you don’t work in that kind of industry and pottery allows me to express myself and is something I find very therapeutic.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Going to university as I was the first in my family to do so. It was not something I ever thought possible, so to get good A-Levels and go to university in Bath was a really proud moment for me.
What’s the best piece advice you’ve been given or could give?
Find something you enjoy. I’ve worked jobs where I’ve dreaded going in on Monday and had nightmares on Sunday, and now that is not the case. The culture here is amazing, we focus on trust and enabling people to fulfil their potential. It makes a massive difference doing something you enjoy as not only are you happier, but your output is better as a result.
Who inspires you?
My nan has been a huge inspiration to me, she had a tough upbringing in a working-class Irish family. The fact that when she moved to England, she was able to forge a career and raise a family has shown me the importance of resilience in times of adversity.
What do you think the future of the industry looks like?
I think open access and open research will be much more prominent than they are now. Open access exploded around 10 years ago but has been in a bit of a lull for the last five.
In terms of open research, we are still a long way away from an open market of sharing of information across industries and organisations. But with the advances in technologies like Blockchain, and the continued push for data standardisation, I think it could happen in the next couple of decades.
Recently there has been a lot of research into the challenges of openly sharing information which is where I think the industry is going.
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