Customer Success Story: Our Research

About Our Research

Our Research  a not-for-profit based in North Carolina, has been supporting the growth of open science and Open Access research for a decade.  Their mission is to break the paywalled model of today’s current academic publishing ecosystem and ensure science is available more openly for all.  The team are passionate advocates of improving the openness and accessibility of academic research for everyone.

With this in mind they developed three main products including:

  1. Unpaywall Data Feed – the gold standard for discovering OA tracking the status and location of over 145 million academic articles of which 30 million and growing are OA.
  2. Unsub – a data analytics tool that helps post-secondary institutions better manage and forecast their academic journal spend.
  3. OpenAlex – this is the newest product, launched in 2023 and is the world’s largest free and open scientific knowledge graph providing bibliometric metadata on 250 million academic works and growing.  This data comprises everything from author, title, institution, funder information,, affiliations, citations, concepts and much more.  

In addition to assisting OurResearch over the last 4 years with the sales of the Unpaywall Data Feed and Unsub, there was a need now to help with OpenAlex as the team focussed their attention on winning a $7 million grant from Arcadia Foundation which would fuel OpenAlex’s continued development over the next five years.  

Business Challenge:

With the importance of OpenAlex and the global potential, successfully securing the grant was critical, and they needed to provide proof in various areas such as market, product and their mission in order to secure the grant. 

  1. Product displacement stories – it was imperative to show that OpenAlex was a robust enough SKG to allow users to displace the current, paywalled services like Scopus and Web of Science.
  2. Testimonials and case studies from early users – it was required to show that institutions and organizations using OpenAlex were seeing value, and would provide a testimonial and case study around the use of OpenAlex and the value it brought to their organizations.  
  3. Sustainable revenue stream – equally important for the grant application was the ability to show that users would pay for OpenAlex’s freemium product, OpenAlex Premium.  Grant funding is not indefinite so a sustainability plan had to be in place and be successful.

Our Solution:

VA Partners was able to offer a solution to these business challenges with the introduction of a part-time sales rep.  The sales rep would help develop and execute the sales strategy that included:  

  • Engaging in sales and customer outreach to generate displacement stories, testimonials and case studies and sales of OpenAlex Premium
  • Supporting the Licensing negotiations and close of new OpenAlex Premium customers
  • Conducting outbound sales activities targeting institutions, governments to introduce them and present to them OpenAlex

The Results:

In 2023, with the launch of OpenAlex, VA Partners worked closely with Jason Priem, the CEO, and the team at OurResearch to help build a supporting business case for funding from Arcadia Foundation for OpenAlex.  We assisted in driving customer testimonials, success stories and building a revenue stream of over $300,000 ARR and a funnel of over $400,000 in 6 months. This successfully led OurResearch and the OpenAlex product to be awarded $7 million in funding over the next 5 years. 

VA Partners will now continue to work with the OurResearch team in driving sales of all three products with a particular focus on growing the sales of OpenAlex, and work towards sustainability.   

To learn more about how you can grow your revenues faster with a Part-time VP of Sales or Part-Time Sales Rep, click here.