Zendy’s 2022 in review: a year of triumphs, challenges, and new developments!
As we reach the end of 2022, we’re celebrating a unique and incredibly exciting year for Zendy. As I type this, we now welcome over 40,000 users to the Zendy platform. A milestone that I am certainly proud of but not surprised by. I’m not surprised by the positive response to Zendy because as an industry, we have a long way to go to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has equal affordability and accessibility to knowledge. But we are certainly taking steps in the right direction. There’s never been a time when we need more evidence-based research. When I Co-founded Zendy in 2019, Zendy’s ‘hybrid’ subscription-based access model was a new concept for publishers to visualize. Despite this, our passionate and inspired mission to democratise access to scholarly literature was felt and we gained the support of some of the world’s leading publishers. If there’s something I’ve learned in my many decades in the industry, it’s that collaboration is the fundamental ingredient to foster change in the academic publishing spectrum successfully. A big thanks to our publishing partners who continue to support our mission and work with us to promote lifelong learning opportunities for individuals in over 130 countries. As I reflect on collaboration, I think of the endless hours of work put in by the Zendy team. Those who were with us from the beginning, and our many recent joiners – everyone has pioneered together along the way. When you are creating something from scratch, the challenges keep coming. The resilience and commitment of our team is second to none, and I couldn’t be prouder of all the milestones we have reached together. It was great to see the team’s talents recently recognized at theMiddle East Technology Excellence Awardswhere Zendy received Best Startup in the Education Technology category. We had a long list of goals in 2022. A key objective was to participate in as many conversations as possible. It’s a pivotal moment in academic publishing, digitisation is in full effect, and end-user consumption trends continue to spotlight the need for publishers and service providers to diversify content and focus on accessibility and affordability. Earlier this year, I joined ChronosHub on a webinar to discussAffordable Access & Open Access Publishing. The webinar showcased the progress that has been made on the OA front to encourage greater diversity and representation in academic publishing. However, it’s still evident that researchers on the ground, especially in emerging regions, still face hurdles in basic access to journals. Watch the full webinar here:https://bit.ly/3PA8GM3 As we see news globally of pirated academic content platforms terminating, it’s critical that, as an industry we focus on how we can continue to deliver value to students, researchers, professionals, and self-learners around the world. By right, everyone should have equal access to scientific literature. Ultimately the goal of research is to enhance society, and the only way to do that is to disseminate research as far and wide as possible. The message of dissemination fits well alongside the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As joint signatories of the SGD Publishers Compact, it was excellent to join industry players at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. We had positive meetings with existing publishers and successful meetings with new publishers on the Open Access and paid content front. We look forward to sharing news of new partnerships in early 2023. Shortly after Frankfurt Book Fair, we hosted a collaborative webinar with OAPEN at the beginning of Open Access week to discuss the importance of OA participation and to explore the link between OA content and climate action. The webinar featured two Open Access authors who detailed their publishing experience as authors – a great watch for aspiring authors. Watch the full webinar here:https://bit.ly/3V6Hx4f Q4 has been incredibly busy for us, and we are looking forward to announcing new feature releases that will significantly uplift users' experience on the platform. Our technology is what sets us apart, and this year we made considerable improvements to enhance the accuracy and value of our data for users based on data association and topic modeling algorithms. Another recent milestone is that we launched Zendy in Nigeria, allowing users to search both Open Access content and subscribe to top journals on one seamless platform. We’ve already welcomed over 8,000 users in Nigeria, and we look forward to creating more access opportunities in the region. As we bring 2022 to a close, we thank all of you who support us in big and small ways. Looking forward to more conversations and collaboration in 2023. Best wishes for a happy new year from the entire Zendy team! Kamran Robert Kardan
Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan interview with Asian Business Review
The Middle East startup landscape is buzzing with breakthrough innovation and creativity. Zendy is proud to play a role in the ecosystem of MENA-based startups and we're thrilled to accept the award for Best Startup - Education at the Middle East Technology Excellence Awards. Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan recently sat down with Asian Business Review to accept the award and discuss Zendy's mission, vision, and values. Kamran commenced the interview by giving a big shoutout to the Zendy team for their tireless commitment to Zendy's mission of providing affordable and accessible academic content to knowledge enthusiasts globally. Zendy: knowledge without barriers In 2019, Zendy embarked on an ambitious journey to offer an alternative model of access to scholarly literature. The traditional pay-per-article model was and still is increasingly unattainable for individuals and researchers, especially in emerging regions where access is already limited. Looking at the success of the subscription market, namely products like Netflix and Spotify, Zendy founders thought why not offer the same experience for users to discover academic literature? Thus, Zendy was born. Zendy is anaffordableacademic library that offersunlimited accessto journals, articles, e-books, proceedings, and more for the monthly price of a single research paper. With Zendy, students, researchers, and professionals can read, cite, and download leading research. The added benefit of Zendy is saving money, traditional models of access force individuals to pay between $15 - $40 per research paper. What does the future of academic access look like? When asked about the future of Zendy and what's next, Kamran Kardan spoke of Zendy mission which is to continue to reduce inequalities of access to knowledge. As a firm supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Zendy (a product of Knowledge E), is working hard to reach new emerging regions. To strengthen its mission of creating a global knowledge economy without barriers, in October 2021, Zendy launched its free Open Access platform. Zendy Open features over 43 million free Open Access publications on one easy-to-use platform. With the support of leading publishers, Zendy's growth is a collaborative effort, and the next 12 months will be defining for the company. In September 2022, Zendy launched in Nigeria and has since acquired over 7,000 from the booming African region. "We're grateful to be recognised as a leading EduTech Startup in MENA and we're inspired by the many other innovators in the industry who are using technology to make a positive impact in communities globally. The team is currently working on significant updates to the Zendy experience and we're so excited to launch new features in Q1 2023. Day by day we inch closer to our mission of creating a world where everyone, everywhere can access knowledge without barriers," said Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan. Click here to watch the full interview: https://bit.ly/3PcgxPB
Middle East Technology Excellence Award 2022 for Startup in Education was presented to Zendy
The platform won the award for startup in the education category, joining the league of past winners such as Du, Amazon (MENA), the Entertainer, & BLOOVO to become one of the most innovative companies in the Middle East. For tech startup Zendy, it is simply unfair that students, researchers, and professionals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and other developing regions cannot access the same depth of research as those in developed countries. This is despite the rapid shift in the academic publishing spectrum. Zendy is a product of Knowledge E, a private technology company providing access to digital libraries, training, consulting, and publishing services in the academic sector. Co-founded by entrepreneur Kamran Robert Kardan, it was built in response to the high cost of access to scholarly literature and the limitations of access to academic content in emerging and developing regions. As such, Zendy, being a fast mover in the industry, offers an alternative to traditional access models. The startup works with publishers and researchers to bridge the gap in equality in emerging regions. It also offers a unique hybrid model for accessing content to meet the consumption needs of academic and non-academic professionals whilst offering publishers a share of the subscriptions’ revenue. It offers users two options to access content: Zendy Plus and Zendy Open. The former is a subscription-based solution that provides individuals and organisations unlimited access to premium journals from major publishers, whilst the latter is a global open-access solution that features millions of OA resources from leading academic publishers. Zendy Plus offers unlimited access to research for an average monthly cost of $15, whilst Zendy Open is free and available from anywhere around the world. Zendy’s monthly user growth rate is 11%, with a sign-up projection of 35,000 by Q4 2022. Zendy is also an avid supporter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals relating to equality and inclusivity in education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for everyone. “We’re delighted to be recognised amongst leaders in the technology sector in MENA. What started as a simple concept of creating an affordable and accessible digital library, has now developed into a meaningful platform that empowers individuals to leverage research. The best part is that we’re just getting started. Our recent launch in Nigeria and soon-to-be-released feature updates are all designed to continue our mission to support lifelong learning opportunities for everyone, everywhere,” said Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan. It has won the Startup - Education category in the recently held Middle East Technology Excellence Awards for this innovation. The prestigious awards programme honours outstanding companies in the region that have made exceptional contributions in the pursuit of technological innovation in their respective industries. This article orginally appeared on Asian Business Review.
WEBINAR: Empowering discoverability: increasing open climate research in MENA
In this collaborative webinar, Zendy and OAPEN teamed up at the start of Open Access week to discuss and debate the discoverability of open climate research in MENA. The panel featured Knowledge E CEO & Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan, Zendy Partnership Relations Manager Sara Crowley Vigneau, Community Manager at DOAB & OAPEN Tom Mosterd, and authors Declan Conway and Marvin Brown. Open Access is vital in giving communities worldwide an opportunity to produce and disseminate knowledge about the climate crisis we are facing. Openness can create pathways to more equitable knowledge sharing and serve as a means to address the inequities that shape the impacts of climate change and our response to them. Global accessibility to scientific content Zendy Co-founder Kamran Kardan commenced panel discussions by describing the key challenge for individuals who want to access top scientific literature. In today's publishing environment, individuals either need to be a member of an institution that has a subscription to these resources from the various publishers or part of an organization that may be part of a large consortium that may include access to certain databases. This landscape has created significant inequality in access models for scientific information. Zendy’s mission to democratize access to scientific literature aims to make academic literature more affordable and accessible for individuals to learn and discover. The pay-per-article model is not sustainable for independent learners. With single research papers ranging from $10 to $40 per download, vast global inequities have emerged in knowledge economies. Zendy’s hybrid subscription model, which provides individuals unlimited access for the monthly price of a single research paper, aims to help bridge the gap between access and affordability. As Kamran discussed, challenges also exist in the Open Access framework. In a completely Open Access world, pockets of OA content exist across various platforms. This can make the research journey for individuals arduous. Zendy Open is a solution to accumulate this content for the user and present it on one easy-to-navigate platform. In reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Kamran expressed that the key requirement for progress in climate action is through the power of knowledge. See the entire discussion here:https://youtu.be/bVd28nSNhwA?t=196 Importance of useability and collaboration Zendy Open is designed to make the accessibility of Open Access content easy for individuals from all walks of life. As Zendy Partnership Relations Manager, Partnership Relations Manager Sara Crowley Vigneau discussed, together with usability, partnerships play a central role in providing inclusive access. Zendy aims to partner with a diverse group of top publishers to ensure individuals have wide-ranging access to over 45 million Open Access publications, available in over 68 languages. Sara discussed the correlation between the impact of the Open Access movement and SDG 4: equal access to education. The principles of Open Access also empower SDG goal 10 (fighting inequalities worldwide) and SDG goal 13 (climate action). Climate research touches all aspects of our lives, from education to health, our notion of home to the societies we participate, and, importantly, our children’s future. The more industry participants collaborate to provide more visibility and ease of access to climate research, the better-informed individuals, thus creating more opportunities for participation in climate action. Zendy’s collaboration with OAPEN means thousands of e-books, including hundreds of Open Access titles, are now available free on Zendy. See the entire discussion here:https://youtu.be/bVd28nSNhwA?t=196 The role of books in the transition to Open Access OAPEN promotes and supports the transition to open access for academic books by providing open infrastructure services to stakeholders in scholarly communication. The OAPEN Foundation offers 3 services: the OAPEN Library, which hosts, distributes, and preserves over 25,000 peer-reviewed OA books, a global indexing service called DOAB, and an OA Books toolkit to help authors learn how to publish via OA channels. As OAPEN & DOAB Community Manager Tom Mosterd discussed, books play an important role in the Open Access arena, especially in the subjects of humanities, social sciences, and, of course, climate justice. The OAPEN library features books from large publishers, as well as independent publishers from University Press’ from all around the world. The webinar showcased two authors who have for many years participated in the Open Access publishing process. They both provided insights about their books, which are now available on Zendy, and they shared their journey of why they publish Open Access. Declan Conway: Climate Risk in Africa – Adaptation and Resilience This OA book highlights the complexities around making adaptation decisions and building resilience in the face of climate risk. It is based on experiences in sub-Saharan Africa through the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) applied research programme. The insights inform new ways to promote action in policy and praxis by blending knowledge from multiple disciplines, including climate science, that provides an understanding of future climate risk and the social science of response through adaptation. Read the book on Zendy now:https://bit.ly/3DqcIAZ Marvin Brown: A Climate of Justice: An Ethical Foundation for Environmentalism This OA book helps readers combine history, politics, and ethics to address the most pressing problem facing the world today: environmental survival. InA Climate of Justice,Marvin Brown connects the environmental crisis to basic questions of economic, social, and racial justice. Brown shows how our current social climate maintains systemic injustices, and he uncovers resources for change through civic ethics of repair and reciprocity. A must-read for researchers and educators in the area of environmental ethics and those teaching courses in the fields of public policy and environmental sustainability. Read the book on Zendy now:https://bit.ly/3h72DkE
Zendy Talks Affordable Access & Open Access Publishing With ChronosHub
In this webinar, Zendy Co-Founder Kamran Kardan joined an expert panel to discuss current issues and solutions for researchers regarding accessing content and paying for OA publications. The panel was hosted by Open Access publishing expert Romy Beard, with other guests including researcher and ecosystems ecologist Dr Varun Varma and Plos Strategic Partnerships Director Sara Rouhi. Challenges of Open Access Open publishing is becoming increasingly popular. However, researchers are still experiencing many challenges when they want to access paywalled content such as previous research and archived material. Similarly, Open Access (OA) publishing can be an unaffordable route for unfunded researchers or researchers whose institutions haven't signed up for any OA agreements, such as NGOs or organisations leveraging research. Bringing together a range of perspectives, the panel discussed a vast array of topics, including OA agreements, discounts, waivers, technical and cultural barriers, the role and value of publishers that end-users often don't see, and the solutions that companies like Zendy are proposing to support affordability and accessibility. A Researcher’s Perspective Dr Varun Varma commenced panel discussions by recounting his personal experience as a researcher and the many barriers he has faced in accessing content and publishing his research. After studying in the UK and then moving to a developing country to commence a PhD, Dr Varma felt what he described as his ‘first shock’ of access when suddenly, his access to journals was ‘extremely limited’ simply because he was now located in a different region. Regional-based access limitations are one of the core pillars of inequality that many industry commentators address in conversations about reform. With the signing of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) publishers’ contract launched in 2020 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, inclusivity and equality within the academic publishing sector are under the spotlight. The flow-on effect of access limitation in developing regions is far-reaching as it significantly increases the time involved in screening literature. What should take weeks then takes months, and as Dr Varma indicated, the tedious nature of the process leaves researchers with missing references, sometimes making the paper incomplete. The Publishing Spectrum The narrative for academic publishing is shifting rapidly, with many moving elements working in parallel to ultimately address the pain points of the end-user. Institutions, publishers, organisations, researchers, librarians, and end-users are all key drivers forcing immense movement and excitement across the entire spectrum of academic publishing and content consumption. Paid contentsits at the crux of the spectrum. The major challenges of availability and affordability associated with paid content motivate other players, such as Open Access and illegal content platforms. While theOpen Accessmovement generates rapid support and participation, its scattered nature makes the content difficult to discover. Each publisher has an element of Open Access, while some are completely open access. This is great news for end-users who need access to new content, but older content is few and far between, making the research process arduous. The third participant in the publishing spectrum isillegal contentpublishing platforms. Praised by many for eliminating barriers to access, unlicensed publishing platforms pose a great risk to the future of research. It all comes down to the role of analytics, and the immense need for the data publishers’ produce based on usage. The Economy of Academic Publishing What is the role of a publisher? This is a question asked time and time again. As journal subscription costs increase and the cost of article processing charges (APCs) weigh heavy on researchers, many people wonder where that money goes. And importantly, how does society benefit? As PLOS Strategic Partnerships Director, Sara Rouhi and Zendy Co-Founder Kamran Kardan explain, publishers completely absorb the exponential costs of technical infrastructure, analytics, and marketing. Here’s why these processes matter: Sara Rouhi, of PLOS, discussed some of the key-value points of publishers and the incredible costs associated in detail throughout the ChronosHub webinar while highlighting PLOS' approach to making the business of OA equitable.She also detailed, the future of Open Access business models must diversify to survive and account for regional affordability, cost-recovery, reducing author friction, and engaging Read institutions. Despite this value, it is evident that the paid publishing model is not sustainable, as it hinders the frameworks of inclusivity and equality. As publishers work on their models of diversification, there are many fast movers in the industry offering alternative methods for publishing and access. The Zendy Movement: Accessibility & Affordability With so many moving elements within the Open Access and academic publishing domains, Zendy has a clear mission and purpose of addressing the tribulations of all key stakeholders in the conversation. Since 2019, Zendy has spearheaded a movement to change the dialogue of academic content access, especially in emerging regions where quality content and affordable avenues of access are few and far between. As a firm believer in empowering communities through knowledge, Zendy CEO Kamran Kardan saw a new way to connect end-users with quality content from top publishers. Instead of hitting paywalls for every piece of content, Zendy Plus was developed as a subscription-based service to reduce end-user costs without compromising access. Zendy users can access unlimited content for the monthly price of a single research paper. Currently available with a free 7-day trial in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, Zendy Plus is constantly updated with new research material. Addressing the global need for access, Zendy offers Zendy Open, a comprehensive open-access library available for free in all regions. While a relatively new concept, this hybrid user-centric model for affordable access is gaining traction. For more information about the ChronosHub Webinar, Open Access, Publishing, or Zendy, please don't hesitate to reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org.