Kieran is our international sales manager and we recently caught up with him to find out a little bit more about his role, his passions outside of work, and what he thinks the industry will look like in the future.
Tell us about your role as international sales manager
I’m international sales manager at OpenAthens. We have two very distinct areas that we focus on. One concerns libraries and access to information. And the other is providers, which is the side that I work on.
My job focuses mainly on gaining new business. Travelling to a lot of events means I meet with a variety of people in the publishing industry. I learn a lot about the publishing industry that way. I hear what’s important to providers, and feed that back to the rest of the team. No two days are ever the same which keeps things interesting!
There are different motivations for providers when you compare it to those of libraries. Libraries often focus on their users. They carefully spend their limited budget on procuring content and ensuring they get maximum value from their purchases.
Publishers and other providers 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. 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. 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 the 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. But 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. 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. When she moved to England she forged a career and raised a family. And that 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 organizations. But with the advances in technologies like Blockchain, and the continued push for data standardization, 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. This is where I think the industry is going.
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