R&D Initiatives

These projects reflect our ongoing work to improve our software and contribute to enhancing the technology for scholarly communication.

PKP Sustainability Study

Laura and John Arnold Foundation, 2017 – 2018
John Willinsky, Brian Owen, Juan Pablo Alperin, James MacGregor, Alec Smecher, Kevin Stranack

This six-month planning grant will enable PKP to commence a comprehensive review of its open source publishing software and related services to ensure they continue to address the evolving needs and interests of the international scholarly publishing and open access communities.  Closely intertwined with this is the critical requirement to determine how PKP’s current financial models can be strengthened to ensure that PKP can continue to support these communities well into the future.

Project web site: http://advancing-pkp.org/

Open Access Publishing Cooperative Feasibility Study

MacArthur Foundation, 2015 – 2017
John Willinsky, Kamran Naim, Smith Esseh, and Kevin Stranack

The Open Access Publishing Cooperative Feasibility Study, in collaboration with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and other important stakeholders, will explore the feasibility of establishing publishing cooperatives that bring together libraries, journals, scholarly societies, presses, and others as a financially sustainable open access model for peer-reviewed scholarly publishing.

Over two years, the study will: (a) gathering financial data from journals and libraries to establish current investment levels in professional quality publishing; (b) consulting with stakeholders – research libraries, scholarly journals, scholarly societies, presses, funding agencies, and others – about perceived gains and risks of a co-op approach to open access funding, governance, and structure; and (c) develop and assess open source co-op publishing infrastructures for running pilot studies to evaluate impact on scholarly and public quality of this approach to open access publishing.

If the results of the first three stages show sufficient promise, the Open Access Publishing Cooperative Study plans to hold a culminating “constitutional assembly” for stakeholders in scholarly publishing. The assembly will apply what has been learned in the study to forge the principles and structures by which such cooperatives might constitute a means of bringing about sustainable and global open access to research and scholarship.


Smarter Scholarly Texts for Cross-Platform Publishing, Text-mining, and Indexing

MediaX, 2013 – 2014
MediaX, 2015 – 2016
.CA Community Investment Program, 2015 – 2016
Alex Garnett and Juan Pablo Alperin

This initiative is developing an open source XML software system that largely automates the parsing, tagging, conversion and rendering (in HTML, PDF, ePub, etc.) of content. It will not only improve the affordability of scholarly publications, it will improve the rendering of these texts in a more readable form across multiple formats; it will add to the text-mining, indexing, and rights-management capacities in working with these texts. This will enable journals, as well as small businesses providing journal support services, to establish a much more widely standard for scholarly publishing, enabling the rise of new apps and other means for taking advantage of this markup standard in teaching, research, and public use.


Integrating OMP and OJS through PKP Web Library

Public Knowledge Project, 2013-15
Alec Smecher, Bruno Beghelli, Jason Nugent

PKP maintains related but separate applications implementing workflows for conference papers, journal articles, and scholarly monographs. In refining these workflows we have thoroughly characterized the common areas of overlap. In the interests of elegantly addressing the common scholarly mechanisms underlying these workflows, and as a matter of expediency in ensuring our applications share a single, nimble implementation of each of these mechanisms, we are working to extend the capabilities of our existing PKP Web Application Library to include higher-level constructs like peer reviews, audits, and record-keeping, in addition to the web application concerns it has previously addressed. It is our hope that in the future each application will become more like a specialized configuration of a common scholarly toolkit rather than an entirely different piece of software, allowing the publisher to mix and match attributes of different types of publication rather than maintaining a separate silo for each.