Wednesday, August 12, 2009
First PKP award for editors to Gunther Eysenbach, publisher of JMIR
In my capacity as founding editor and publisher of the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), and open access advocate since over a decade, I am proud to have been honored with the first-ever Public Knowledge Project Community Contribution Award for editors.
The award was given to me (totally surprising - I didn't now anything about it!) at the 2nd PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference in Vancouver, July 2009, by John Willinsky, initiator of the PKP (Public Knowledge Project), for editorial/publishing excellence and the significant contributions I and the team at the epublishing and open access research group at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation made to open science and open access publishing. Contributions of my group include not only major code development over the past 7 years, laying the foundation for many OJS plugins as well as the Lemon8 XML typesetting software, but also leadership, advocacy, innovation, and excellence in open science, reflected by the prominent standing of JMIR as one of the leading independent open access journals.
OJS originally suffered (and to a certain degree still suffers) greatly from the fact that it was developed without the real life input of publishers/editors, so when I decided to use OJS as a publishing platform in 2002, a tremendous amount of work was required to fix bugs and to customize the platform. Over the years, I invested around $350.000 in developer salaries to make this happen. Two of my former staff members (MJ Suhonos and Juan Alperin), who gathered their first experiences in publishing in my lab, developed publishing plugins and tools to support the new business processes I created, and fixed some of the more severe OJS usability issues. They are now both working for PKP.
It is good to see that my efforts as champion for openness in science & medicine (also reflected in my capacity as a founding member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association and the services my lab to new journal startups, which include hosting, copyediting and article XML production) are recognized by others, especially if this recognition comes from someone whom I deeply admire (John Willinsky).
Big players in the open access field (which shall not be named) are in the news all the time, but what is often forgotten is that there are pioneering open access journals out there which were created long before these giants entered the scene. And none of the big players has bothered to share much of their code with the open access publishing community. The plaque he gave me will have a special place on my office wall, right next to my Tom Ferguson award.
Meanwhile, we continue to customize OJS and have developed some novel approaches which completely integrates the XML production process into the OJS platform (we are the only journal where this has been achieved). These changes go beyond a simple plugin structure, and unfortunately we do not have the funding or manpower to support documentation and sharing of these changes as open source. What we do offer is however to host journals on the modified platform and to support the article production process for new journals, especially those requiring NLM-XML markup (interested editors/publishers should contact me).