The Public Knowledge Project is dedicated to improving the scholarly and public quality of research. It operates through a partnership among Simon Fraser University, the School of Education at Stanford University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Pittsburgh, the Ontario Council of University Librariesand the California Digital Library.
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 publishing activities of the project have been reviewed and cited in Inside Higher Ed, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Science, The Scientist and others
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.
Since its founding by John Willinsky in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia in 1998, PKP has employed some 40 graduate and undergraduate students from Commerce, Computer Science, Higher Education, Humanities, Information Science, Language and Literacy Education, and Sociology, as well as collaborating and consulting with faculty members at UBC and abroad, as well as with the British Columbia Teachers Federation, the Vancouver School Board, the BC Ministry of Education, Vancouver Sun, and others, on ways to increase professional and public access to knowledge resources.