Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, March 07, 2008

Jan Velterop leaves Springer for KnewCo

Jan Velterop is leaving his position as Open Access Director at Springer to become the CEO of KnewCo.  From Springer's announcement yesterday:

Jan Velterop, Springer’s Director of Open Access, and a driving force behind Springer Open Choice, will be leaving Springer to pursue a new career as CEO of KnewCo Inc....

Velterop is one of the most prominent figures of the open access community. He joined Springer in August 2005 from BioMedCentral, an established open access biomedical research publisher, where he was Publishing Director.

Over the past years at Springer, Velterop was instrumental in both outreach to the research community and also in familiarizing Springer’s publishing professionals with the possibilities that open access can deliver for the company.

“When I joined Springer to promote Open Choice, I did so knowing that it would not be enough to simply promote this service to authors in the scientific community. I realized that a large part of my role would be to convince publishers that open access was not a threat to established publishing companies, but rather an opportunity. I am happy to say that the reaction from authors and institutions was positive and that my colleagues have come to accept that Open Choice can be a valid alternative to the subscription model, especially in some disciplines,” said Velterop.

Derk Haank, Springer’s CEO said, “Jan was a key component of our approach to open access. Our belief was that if the community wanted the option to publish using open access, we should, at the very least, enable them to do so. During his time with us, Jan has used his considerable publishing know-how and his standing in the community to help make Springer Open Choice a robust and well-known service. We wish him well in his new endeavors.”

Springer will continue to develop Open Choice and remains committed to growing the share of articles published using open access....

KnewCo is the company behind the OA WikiProfessional project, which has already launched WikiProteins.  For some background, see this February 2007 Nature article on the project and my blogged excerpt

From the KnewCo mission page:

Knewco has a radically different response to the unprecedented challenge of managing the exponential growth of knowledge....A company founded by scientists for scientists, Knewco's mission is to deploy its advanced semantic technology to accelerate key elements of the scientific process, and specifically semantic enrichment of web-published content, to support on-line knowledge discovery....

Knewco believes that knowledge is more than what is contained in publications in that it includes the associative power of the human mind of the scientist. This associative power will be accelerated when scientists and knowledge users are empowered to invent based upon knowledge that has been mined and moved along the following continuum:

  • Simple flat text is converted into semantically enriched pages;
  • Reading documents is transformed to meta analysis (added value on top of just information;
  • Textual research time is maximized when mined information allows one to go from reading to consulting....[or] from 'mined to mind.' ...

Thus, this Knewco mined data would no longer be (only) text per se, but rather the first nuggets of embryonic knowledge, i.e., Knowlets™, which is computer readable and is associated with the relevant experts as a stepping stone to new knowledge. Helicopter views on knowledge domains are an essential and long overdue element of the scientific process....

Comment.  Jan was one of the framers of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the first publisher of BioMed Central, and the first Open Access Director at Springer --or for that matter, at any major, predominantly TA publisher.  He's a pioneer of OA and will take that seasoned perspective to KnewCo.  I wish him well.