In 2016, key parts of Knowledge Unlatched were bought by Sven Fund, and the organisation was turned into a for-profit company registered in Germany (Knöchelmann, 2018; Poynder, 2018; ScholarLed, 2019). This generated some controversy in the OA community (see, for instance, Joy’s [2018a] comments), in part as there seemed to be a lack of transparency around the process. Controversies have also arisen over some of Knowledge Unlatched’s other projects—the KU Open Funding Open Research Library — namely some have argued that these represent attempts to monopolise and commercialise the infrastructures of open knowledge dissemination (Barnes & Gatti, 2019; Ernst, 2019; Gatti, 2018; ScholarLed, 2019). […]
In our workshops, surveys and interviews, KU received both positive and negative reviews. On the positive side, KU is perceived as an ambitious central hub providing a large amount of varied content from reputable presses. […] On the negative side, some participants echoed the aforementioned critiques about what was seen as efforts by KU to ‘monetise OA movement’.
Translated from report-ese, this is a damning indictment. Even so, I am continually surprised by the company’s defenders in the OA community, in the face of past and present shadiness.