Sign the Declaration

A Guide to the Knowledge Equity Network

What makes the Knowledge Equity Network different to other networks and declarations?

There are two distinctive characteristics of the Knowledge Equity Network (KEN) that set it apart. Firstly, it will encompass knowledge exchange, education and research and innovation rather than focusing solely on Open Education or Open Research. Coupled with a strong emphasis on reward and recognition as positive drivers for change, we see this as the most comprehensive approach to support open access to the benefits of the Higher Education systems, reducing the inequalities that currently exist in access to knowledge.

Secondly, it is a long term commitment to continue working with signatories and partners across the globe through shared resources, specialist interest groups and events to make the aspirations a reality.

Who drafted the Declaration?

Developing the content of the Declaration was a collaborative process, with significant input and engagement with leaders, organisations and experts from across the globe, to ensure the content is globally relevant, ambitious and achievable.

Why do you need signatories?

While the principles and recommendations within the Declaration are laudable aims, they are difficult for a single institution to achieve at scale.  Signatories are important to gather the coalition of the willing who will bring the aims of the declaration to life.

What does the Declaration commit signatories to?

The Declaration sets out general principles to support the vision of achieving fair and equitable access to knowledge, based on the central tenets that access to the knowledge of Higher Education Institutions should be universal, collaborative, inclusive and sustainable. The Declaration has been designed with principles and recommendations for signatories to adhere to, to change their current practices to create fairer, more equitable access to knowledge.

What will the Knowledge Equity Network do to support the transformation needed to achieve knowledge equity?

KEN will create an environment in which generosity and collaboration replace competition. KEN will facilitate special interest groups, online conversations and an events programme, as well as promoting the sharing of best practice, new policies, updates and intelligence amongst signatories.  This will allow signatories to pool expertise and resources on a global scale, bringing about faster, and more impactful, change.

How and when will the Knowledge Equity Network be communicated to the academic community?

We are engaging actively with partners across the globe to create a pool of advocates that can extend the academic conversation around the world.  We invite contributions from the global academic community who will be key to supporting the movement towards open practices.

How will the network address adverse reactions?

A critical aspect of academic life is the freedom to debate and question. While we are confident that the academic community supports the overall ethos of the Knowledge Equity Network, we understand that there will be many questions around how this will be achieved, and the potential impacts on individuals and on the culture and structure of both knowledge production and education itself. Cultural and structural changes on this scale may bring concern when navigating such uncertainty.  Our aim for the network is to look at strategies which can inspire this progressive change rather than bringing fear of the unknown.

As part of the long terms plans for the Network we will work to explore and mitigate any unintended consequences from the Knowledge Equity Network.    Our collective approach emphasises that change will be a long-term journey and will involve discussion, collaboration and shared problem solving.   

How will the Knowledge Equity Network communicate the aims of the Declaration with journals?

The Declaration is not exclusive to Higher Education Institutions and can be signed by many different organisations, including publishers, learned societies and funders.  We are engaging actively with these organisations to ensure that they are aware of the aims of the Declaration and to discuss how we can work together to realise the benefits of more open access to knowledge.

Open access to research is being increasingly supported by publishers already, and we believe that there are existing business models that demonstrate that you can ensure open access to knowledge in a financially sustainable manner.

How will the Knowledge Equity Network continue to attract signatories?

As the network grows and we engage with more signatories from across the globe we will create a pool of advocates that can further extend engagement around the world. We already have several high-profile individuals and organisations who are willing to act in this role.

When is the deadline for signatories?

There is no deadline for signatories. This is the start of a movement, and we will continue to welcome both individual and organisational signatories as the Network and Declaration gains prominence and momentum.

How will the declaration be enforced?

It is not our place to explicitly police the action of signatories, nor would we want to. 

There is no expectation to share data publicly (quantitative or qualitative) that signatories are using to monitor their progress against their commitment.  However, signatories may wish to do so if they feel it is appropriate, in order to be recognised for the progress that they are making. 

We are also mindful that each country has a different legal and administrative framework relating to Higher Education. As a result of this there will be diversity and flexibility in the means chosen by each institution to work towards the principles of the Declaration within their own national context.

We have created a code of conduct to sit alongside the Declaration; we want to build momentum where this is clearly the right thing to do, sharing and celebrating good practice rather than calling out failures. Our KEN Global Office will invite signatories to share updates on progress against the principles, so that we may assess how much change in open practices and impact has been made collectively.

How much will this cost?

What we wish to achieve with this movement is fair and equitable access to knowledge. This does not exclude monetising aspects of what we do, but rather challenges us to think about how to balance this with providing access to those who could not have equitable access through traditional routes. There are great examples such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare where access to knowledge is open to all but does not detract (and arguably enhances) the monetised aspects of this knowledge.

How will KEN’s goals be achieved – is it simply the Declaration or do the activities go beyond that?

The Declaration is only the start.  KEN accelerates the movement for global knowledge equity and sets ambitious objectives for all signatories. It allows organisations to learn from each other, work with each other, and support each other, all in the pursuit of making this world a better and more equitable place for humanity.  The Network will highlight the ongoing contributions and projects already under way in the open education and open research community and will facilitate further collaboration and knowledge transfer that ensures open, accessible, inclusive and quality education and research.

What support is available to help me/us get involved?

The KEN Global Office will offer support and will provide guidance and expertise to signatories.  The dedicated team will help identify and coordinate opportunities for partner engagement on specific topic areas, making connections amongst signatories for varying needs.

The KEN events will form the epicenter of the network and will be a source of support to all signatories.   They will enable the sharing of best practice and will create interconnecting networks of partners to solve issues and create opportunities for collaboration.  

Who else is involved?

Please see the ‘Our Signatories’ page, for details of those already committed and signed up to the Declaration.

Who is responsible for leading the network?

We have invited a small number of valued and engaged thought leaders from Higher Education Institutions and influential organisations across the globe, who share this vision for fair and equitable access to knowledge, to become Partners of the Network.

Our Partners will jointly contribute to the long-term strategic priorities of KEN, to ensure they are aligned with the needs of the global KEN community and achieve the ambition of more equitable access to knowledge.  Opportunities will be available for other signatories to join this Partner group as the network expands and develops.

Who can sign?

We are inviting all those who want to work towards knowledge equity to sign.   This can be organisations, publishers, other networks, funders, staff and students within HEIs, lifelong learners, individuals, experts and activists – all are welcome.

Why is it important to have other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) supporting this?

We firmly believe that our peers and partners in Higher Education can help reduce inequalities across the world by establishing open access to quality education and research for everyone.  To do this, we want to reconfirm Higher Education’s role in society, and ensure that we drive toward the open, collaborative culture and environment that will be required to make a meaningful difference in this world. We believe that through the power of knowledge, we will be able to reduce inequalities, and that collective creativity amongst HEIs is crucial to generate leadership and solutions to tackle global challenges.

What are the benefits of signing for me or my organisation?

There are many benefits to joining the network.  KEN will provide increased collaboration opportunities, amongst organisations, individuals and nations.   The Network will act as the vehicle to connect those with similar interests, those who can benefit from sharing in others’ lessons learnt. The network will also provide the opportunity to share open resources, practices, coding and policies for others to reuse and adapt to enhance their own open practices.

How do I sign?

You can sign up to be a signatory (as either an individual or organisation) through our Knowledge Equity Network website – and click the ‘sign the declaration’ button.

How can I/we contribute?

We will invite all signatories to contribute to the Network events and special interest groups, where everyone is welcome and encouraged to share their best practices, acknowledge current barriers to knowledge equity and offer solutions to these.

We will host regular KEN events focusing on issues that Network signatories face in the course of developing more open practices. We intend for these Network events to provide tangible outcomes, actions, connections and information to help to open up more equitable access to knowledge for all.

What if we cannot contribute to the events?

We will provide reports, blogs or summaries following the Network events, so that people or organisations who are not able to attend can catch up on any of the learning or actions that have emerged from these events and the invaluable discussions.

What happens once I have signed the Declaration?

Once you have committed to be a signatory you will join the KEN community.  This includes an invitation to all the events being organised by the network and you will receive all communications issued by the KEN Global Office.  

How do I suggest a topic for a KEN event?

If you would like the network to host an event on a particular topic, please do contact the KEN team at to discuss this further.

Can I host my own KEN event?

We welcome our signatories to host local KEN events.   Please do contact the KEN team at to discuss this further and how the KEN Global Office can support this.

How do I share a case study that my organisation or I are working on?

KEN welcomes contributions for case studies, which relate to the principles of the Declaration and network, and can support these being shared on the KEN website, alongside other resources, which may be a result of a special interest group or event.   Please do contact the KEN team at to discuss this further.

Can I leave the network or opt out of communications and invitations to events?

You can opt out of communications and invitations to events, or opt to leave the network, by contacting