Public Knowledge Project

My June adventures in the Open Journal System (OJS) workshop at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) led to further adventures at the recent Public Knowledge Project’s 2009 conference here in Vancouver at SFU Harbour Centre.

Until this summer, I was entirely unfamiliar with provocative and exciting work being done by the PKP team.  As ardent advocates of open source open access publishing + conference organization tools, the PKP crew is doing important work.  Work that is inviting me to rethink my own working relationships with fellow researchers/writers and colleagues, publishers, students, and the public.

What is OJS?

OJS is an open source journal management and publishing system developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research.  The details:

  1. OJS is installed locally and locally controlled.
  2. Editors configure requirements, sections, review process, etc.
  3. Online submission and management of all content.
  4. Subscription module with delayed open access options.
  5. Comprehensive indexing of content part of global system.
  6. Reading Tools for content, based on field and editors’ choice.
  7. Email notification and commenting ability for readers.
  8. Complete context-sensitive online Help support.

OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing. It is made freely available to journals worldwide for the purpose of making open access publishing a viable option for more journals, as open access can increase a journal’s readership as well as its contribution to the public good on a global scale.

PKP Logo

What is the PKP?

Launched by John Wilinsky in 1998, the Public Knowledge Project is dedicated to improving the scholarly and public quality of research. It operates through a partnership among the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, the Simon Fraser University Library, the School of Education at Stanford University, and the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. The partnership brings together faculty members, librarians, and graduate students dedicated to exploring whether and how new technologies can be used to improve the professional and public value of scholarly research. Its research program is investigating the social, economic, and technical issues entailed in the use of online infrastructure and knowledge management strategies to improve both the scholarly quality and public accessibility and coherence of this body of knowledge in a sustainable and globally accessible form. It continues to be an active player in the open access movement, as it provides the leading open source software for journal and conference management and publishing.

The research and software development of the Public Knowledge Project speaks to the urgent need for a greater understanding of these new technologies’ potential contribution to knowledge’s public sphere, even as scholarly organizations and publishers increasingly turn to the web. While its work is focused on improving the scholarly quality of publishing processes, it also seeks to expand the realm of public education by improving social science’s contribution to public knowledge, in the belief that such a contribution is critical to academic freedom, the public use of reason, and deliberative forms of democracy.

What Next at CultureNet and Capilano?

This is what we as faculty and students get to chew on when we reconvene in September.  Launch an OJS journal? Signal our own evolving commitment to sharing ideas and resources? Expand CultureNet’s presence on the Open CourseWare initiative? Collaborate with other programs at Capilano and beyond? Before we get to September however I wil be attending the OpenEducation conference at UBC in August.  My hunch: more ideas and more provocation will be on deck at OpenEd to bring into the mix while we move forward as a program.

Aurelea Mahood, CultureNet + English | Capilano University

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