15 February 2023
In May 2022, Emerald Publishing announced it had partnered with Knowledge Unlatched (KU) to create and promote an open access eBook collection in the area of business management and economics, Responsible Management and the SDGs. All book titles in the package would have a distinct focus on responding to and achieving the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.
We regret, however, to share that Knowledge Unlatched have run into two obstacles regarding this proposed collection.
- The Head of Publisher Relations at Knowledge Unlatched made an error when providing data for the calculation of Knowledge Unlatched’s pledging price for this collection. Instead of using the agreed 3-year target as the basis of the 3-year price, a 1-year target was used and this meant that the advertised price was 1/3 of what was needed. This error was not discovered until pledging was completed.
- Originally, the target was 25 necessary supporters, but because the price was erroneously set at 1/3 of what was needed, an adjusted number of necessary supporters would have to be 75. The number of supporters who pledged was 15, equal to 20% of an adjusted target of 75.
Crowdfunding initiatives are experimental by nature, and some do not reach their targets. In this event, the shortage was amplified by the erroneous pricing by Knowledge Unlatched, making it unfeasible for Emerald to develop the proposed content for this collection with the funds pledged.
For this reason, Knowledge Unlatched needs to cancel this prospective collection. This in no way reflects on Emerald who provided high quality content for the collection. As a gesture of goodwill, Emerald will be releasing four titles OA at its own cost – showcasing its commitment to making scholarly content freely available to everyone. These four titles are from Emerald’s Family Businesses on a Mission series, which examines how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) can be applied in family businesses around the world.
Emerald and Knowledge Unlatched sincerely thank all pledging libraries for their pledge to the proposed collection. Knowledge Unlatched has offered to refund pledges or direct them towards another collection of choice with Knowledge Unlatched.
Sally Wilson, Vice President, Emerald Publishing, commented: "While we are disappointed that the partner collection cannot go ahead, we remain committed to working with Knowledge Unlatched on their Select model. Our commitment to interdisciplinary, mission-led research as a founding signatory of the UN’s SDGs Publishers Compact, which is designed to inspire action among publishers and accelerate progress to achieve the SDGs by 2030, also remains firm. We plan to publish four titles from the collection at cost – supporting open, SDG-aligned research."
Sven Fund at Knowledge Unlatched, added: "Shortcomings happen as they did here, and we learn from it to become better at what we do. We are incredibly appreciative of Emerald Publishing as a trusted partner working through this, and we are looking forward to finding new ways of brokering open access together with institutions and Emerald Publishing."