The Public Knowledge Project was established in 1998 by John Willinsky at the University of British Columbia.  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.  John Willinsky, PKP’s founder and director, is based at Stanford and oversees the general direction of PKP and leads its research activities.  Since 2005, the SFU Library has served as the administrative and operational home for PKP and is responsible for software development and support, PKP Publishing Services, and other administrative activities.  PKP also has four major development partners — the  Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), the University of Alberta Libraries, the University of British Columbia Libraries, and the University of Pittsburgh Libraries — who provide significant financial and in-kind support.

The core PKP Team consists of approximately twenty full-, and part-, time developers, technical and support specialists, researchers, graduate students, librarians, and other contract staff.  Almost all work is performed in a virtual work environment with team members located in Canada, the United States, Africa, South America, Europe, and periodically in other parts of the world.  See People for brief biographies on the PKP Team members.

PKP still functions primarily as an ongoing project, but the transition to a more formal organizational entity has commenced.  As part of PKP’s sustainability initiative, a separate cost centre has been established at the SFU Library to support the financial administration of PKP.  A number of community-based committees have also been established to provide a wider base for input and support to PKP:

  • Advisory Committee: provides input on general strategic directions and priorities, and PKP’s evolving organizational structure and governance
  • Technical Committee: provides technical input and advice on PKP’s software development methodologies and priorities
  • Members Committee: provides a community-based forum for feedback on PKP’s general strategic direction and priorities for PKP’s software development

Like all successful open-source software projects, PKP relies heavily on its community of users to participate and contribute in a variety of ways.  PKP’s sponsorship campaign has been very successful with multiple Sponsors who provide financial support to sustain PKP.  The PKP Community Forum has hundreds of users and serves as the primary source for answers to technical and other queries about PKP software.  Individuals and sites using PKP software are also responsible for contributing software enhancements and plugins, plus over 25 language translations for OJS.