Scholarly Inquiry

Although perhaps best known for our software development, PKP also has an active research agenda into broader areas of scholarly communication and education.

Understanding the Societal Impact of Research Through Social Media

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2016 – 2019
Juan Pablo Alperin, Vincent Larivière, Stefanie Haustein, Katherine Reilly, Florence Millerand

As the communication of research increasingly takes place on social media platforms, there is enormous potential to capture and analyze digital traces left by scholars. This offers, for the first time, the opportunity to study at large scale—using both quantitative and qualitative methods—the processes of knowledge dissemination and co-creation between academia and the public. Taking advantage of this opportunity, this SSHRC-funded project asks: What is the nature and extent of societal impact of research that can be observed through the public’s engagement with research on social media?

Open Innovation in Latin American Scholarly Communication: Planning for Greater Integration and Impact

International Development Research Centre, 2011-2014
Juan Pablo Alperin, Gustavo Fischman, and John Willinsky

Latin American scholars are putting higher proportions of their scholarship online, free of charge, and free of most copyright restrictions, than scholars from any other part of the world. It is within this context that PKP seeks to build on the experience gained through previous collaborations and knowledge with relevant institutions in the region. This study will analyze Open Science, Open Access and Open Source Software (OS/OA/OSS) approaches toward two goals: a) Directed toward exploring emerging challenges in the production, circulation, and utilization of scientific knowledge within and outside the scholarly community and; b) promoting greater efficiencies in communication in scholarly practice that have been shown to advance scientific production, circulation, and utilization of knowledge.

Public Access to Health Research

National Science Foundation, 2011-2014
Cheryl Holzmeyer, Laura Moorhead, Lauren Maggio, John Willinsky

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) instituted a Public Access Policy that requires recipients of NIH funding to make all resulting peer-reviewed journal articles publicly accessible within a year of publication. The study will test the hypothesis that, if health personnel are provided with relatively complete online access to the primary research literature, their use of research evidence will increase, as this use contributes to their professional practice and personal learning. It involves two professional communities, family physicians and non-profit health organization (NGO) staff, who advocate for public health and policy change. A sample of 100 family physicians and 50 NGO health organizations will be provided with access to a point of care (POC) research summary service (UpToDate) and, as a proxy of future public access policy results, the journal collection of Stanford University Library. Participants will be debriefed on the why and how of their research use, and a secondary analysis will be conducted to determine demographic, technical, and training factors that affect information access and utilization, with the intent of informing policymaking in the sciences, education, and other areas.

The Intellectual Properties of Learning: A Pre-History from Saint Jerome to John Locke (2009-2014)

John Willinsky

This book-length project seeks to establish how a prototypical form of intellectual property emerged from within medieval monasteries and cathedral schools, and all the more so through the universities, from the medieval to Early Modern era. These learned properties were, and often continue to be, distinguished by economic and legal, as well as textual and cultural, qualities. This pre-history culminates with Locke’s theory of property and early copyright law at the turn of the seventeenth century. Both can be shown to support distinctions that still set learned intellectual properties apart from other sorts, and that tend to be lost sight of amid the current intellectual-property gold rush. View the project in progress and related publications.