5750 Technology and Training for Open Access Publishing

Sunday, February 19, 2012: 1:30 PM
Room 214 (VCC West Building)
John Willinsky , Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
This presentation will describe one candidate for “innovations in reducing international knowledge isolation,” which is this session’s theme. The innovation at issue is the Public Knowledge Project, which is a faculty and librarian led initiative committed to improving the public and scholarly quality of research. As part of this work, PKP had developed a set of open source (free) tools for the publishing of scholarly journals and books. The principal tool is Open Journal Systems, which provides an online publishing platform for seeing manuscripts through a peer-reviewed publishing process, from submission, through review, to editing and publication, followed by indexing. The software provides a workflow standardized around traditional journal practices, from double-blind reviews to reminders to tardy reviews, with copy-editing and proofing stages as part of the process. There are now over 10,000 installations of this journal software, with half of the journals using OJS in the Global South. New journals are being created using this platform, whole existing ones are adding an online presence to their very limited print runs. In both cases, these journals are using this platform to greatly increase their global presence and the opportunity to contribute to the online knowledge exchange which prevails in journal publishing. They are doing so with English, French and Spanish language journals, as well as with in Vietnamese and Kiswahili. One cause of international knowledge isolation involves questions about the quality and reliability of knowledge from the Global South, questions that are being addressed by the structured workflow of OJS and associated editor training (both from the North and within the South). This isolation is also associated with issues of language, involving both having to write in English and in the use of native languages, which in itself allows for greater participation, as well as challenges, not all of which can be handled by Google. Isolation is also caused by the cost of knowledge. Studies of OJS users among journals reveal that 90 percent of the journals, across all disciplines, are open access, which is an effective and necessary strategy today for reaching a wider market after a long period of isolation. The scholar-publisher plays a strong part in this new level of participation with production costs kept on average under $200 per article. The Public Knowledge Project represents one attempt at creating an alternative path to scholarly publishing that seeks to reduce the relative isolation of North and South in the advancement of science and scholarship.