First Monday

Preface by Brian Owen and Kevin Stranack

A dramatic transformation in the production, management, distribution, discovery, and preservation of scholarly publishing is currently taking place. For many involved in these changes, moving their content from print to online continues to be the major challenge. For others, a total re–evaluation of traditional publishing models is underway, including the re–thinking of the author/reader relationship and the methods of conducting peer review in a Web 2.0 environment, the changing roles of academic libraries and university presses, the adoption of open access policies, and much more.

The papers included in this special issue of First Monday are based upon presentations at the International Public Knowledge Project Scholarly Publishing Conference [1] held at Simon Fraser University on 11–13 July 2007. This was the first time that the Public Knowledge Project community had come together, and the responses were so positive, that a second conference is being planned, possibly in 2009.

The papers presented here provide insight into the development and operation of alternative publishing projects around the world, with contributions from Australia, Canada, India, Iran, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines, and the United States. Also included are articles that give a theoretical framework to contextualize these real–world experiences, leading to a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges being faced by those looking for new ways of sharing scholarly information.

All of the contributors to this issue are linked by their participation in the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) [2], and in many instances by their adoption and use of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) software. The PKP is a research initiative of the Stanford University School of Education [3], the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Education [4], Simon Fraser University’s Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing [5], and the Simon Fraser University Library [6]. Headed by Dr. John Willinsky of Stanford and UBC, the Public Knowledge Project is dedicated to improving the scholarly and public quality of academic research through the development of innovative online environments. As part of this goal, the PKP has developed free/open source software, including Open Journal Systems (OJS), a journal management and publishing system, Open Conference Systems (OCS), a conference management and publishing system, the PKP Harvester, a metadata indexing system, and Lemon8–XML (beta), which automatically converts academic papers from word processor formats (such as MS Word .doc and OpenOffice .odt) to publishing layout formats (such as XML).

PKP software is now being used by thousands of people around the world, and the community continues to develop and grow. Over one thousand journals are currently using OJS as an online publishing platform. There are over 800 members participating in PKP’s online support forum where users pose and answer questions, report and solve problems, and share information on the PKP software.

These papers reveal a core strength of the Public Knowledge Project — the bringing together of different communities, including researchers, publishers, editors, librarians, and software developers, around the common goal of improving the scholarly communication process. Through the collaboration of these groups, some of which have traditionally had very little to do with one another, new partnerships have been established, new ideas have been fostered, and new ways of solving problems have been achieved. These new relationships and initiatives transcend organizational, political and geographical boundaries. Overall, these papers provide a fascinating glimpse into the current and future world of scholarly publishing.

We would like to thank all of the members of the Conference Planning Committee as well as Carmen Larsen, Catherine Louie, Rachelle Marcha, Angela Raasch, and Carmel Richter for their outstanding assistance with the conference program and logistics. Presentations and podcasts from the conference are available on the Web site at End of article


About the authors

Brian Owen is the Associate University Librarian for Processing & Systems at the Simon Fraser University Library.
E–mail: brian_owen [at] sfu [dot] ca

Kevin Stranack is a librarian working with the Public Knowledge Project at the Simon Fraser University Library.
E–mail: kstranac [at] sfu [dot] ca



1. First International PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference:

2. The Public Knowledge Project:

3. The Stanford University School of Education:

4. The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education:

5. The Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing:

6. The Simon Fraser University Library:



Contents Index

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Preface by Brian Owen and Kevin Stranack
First Monday, Volume 12 Number 10 - 1 October 2007