John Willinsky Receives Connection Award from SSHRC

November 22nd, 2016 by  | Comments Off on John Willinsky Receives Connection Award from SSHRC

We are delighted to announce that Dr. John Willinsky, PKP Director, Professor in the SFU Publishing Program, and Khosla Family Professor at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, has received the Connection Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), one of Canada’s major national funding agencies.

The Connection Award recognizes an outstanding SSHRC‑funded initiative to facilitate the flow and exchange of research knowledge within and/or beyond the academic community. It is given to an individual or team whose project has engaged the campus and/or wider community, and has generated intellectual, cultural, social and/or economic impacts.” — SSHRC

John has been recognized for his valuable contribution to scholarship and learning over the past 20 years, since receiving his initial SSHRC grant that helped to launch the Public Knowledge Project and the development of Open Journal Systems. That early support from SSHRC has since resulted in a body of cutting edge research, multiple books and articles, and the development of free open source software applications now used by over 10,000 journals around the world, in over 25 languages.

When John Willinsky started PKP his primary objective was to make academic knowledge more easily and widely accessible beyond the borders of the university. That has been the driving force behind everything that PKP has undertaken since and it has appropriately manifested itself through the activity of developing open source software that also enables open access publishing.

It was an initial SSHRC grant entitled “Public Knowledge” for $182,000 awarded to John Willinsky at UBC in 2000-2003, which initiated the research and development program of PKP. This was followed in 2004-07 by a second SSHRC grant, “Reading Research Online,” for $96,000 awarded to WIllinsky. Since then PKP has received funding from many Canadian and international sources — MacArthur, Mellon, Sloan, National Science Foundation — over the years including a SSHRC ITST grant of $37,500 in 2009. Under the aegis of the SFU Library, PKP was a major participant in Synergies (2007­-2012), a national, multi-partner initiative that received over $12 million in funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Today, there are over 10,000 active journals around the world that used OJS to publish, with over 400 of these journals hosted at Canadian academic sites. Cumulatively, over 2.3 million scholarly articles have been published via OJS since its first appearance 15 years ago. The OJS software is also available in over 25 different languages with translations contributed by a very active user community.

PKP’s research, technical and other partnerships are extensive and international through the continued leadership of John Willinsky. Recent and current PKP research initiatives and partnerships include: 1) Helping Journals Upgrade Data Publication for Reusable Research; 2) Altmetrics: Building and Visualizing Article Level Statistics; 3) Smarter XML Scholarly Texts for Cross­-Platform Publishing, Text­-mining and Indexing. In 2015, PKP received a grant for $461,000 from the MacArthur Foundation to undertake a two year study of Open Access Publishing Cooperatives. Other research groups are also leveraging PKP software to undertake research projects. Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) announced in late 2013 two projects (the only two funded out of seventeen) that would be using PKP’s Open Monograph Press (OMP) software as the primary platform for their research and development activities.

John’s work has played a transformative role in supporting the emergence of new scholarly publishing models in the developing world. In a May 10, 2015 interview by Richard Poynder, John stated: “While PKP was about moving research and scholarship online to make it more accessible, I also saw that we were, in effect, building the means for others to participate more fully in the global knowledge exchange.” Today, over half of those 10,000 OJS journals are located in the developing world (e.g., in Brazil, Argentina, Bangladesh, and AJOL in Africa), providing the locally-owned and operated infrastructure for new voices to emerge.

Collectively, all of this activity continues to increase the visibility and accessibility of content from any OJS journal and supports the original goal of greater knowledge mobilization around the world. Thanks to John’s leadership and the support of SSHRC, PKP and its flagship software OJS continue to be a Canadian success story on an international scale.

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