The Public Knowledge Project was established by John Willinsky in 1998 and since that time PKP has expanded and evolved into an international and virtual operation with two institutional anchors at Stanford University and Simon Fraser University Library.
The Public Knowledge Project is dedicated to improving the scholarly and public quality of research. It operates through a partnership among the Simon Fraser University Library, the School of Education at Stanford University, the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University, the University of Pittsburgh, and 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 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.