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Graduate students launch Public Knowledge, a new scholarly journal


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 4, 2009 – "What is public knowledge?" Virginia Tech graduate students ask this question and seek out answers in Public Knowledge, a new interdisciplinary electronic journal launched on April 21.

With periodic new postings and updates, individuals are encouraged to “follow” the journal through Twitter or subscribing to the journal’s RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Web feed.

Co-editors-in-chief Kimberly Baker, a doctoral candidate in the Center for Public Administration and Policy in Blacksburg, and Beth Offenbacker, a doctoral candidate in the center at the Alexandria, Va., campus in the National Capital Region, created the journal to:

  • Stimulate the exchange of ideas and information about policy, issues, and research relevant to faculty and students working within the public sphere across several subject areas;
  • Provide a real-time, collaborative space that allows anyone to interact with the content, ideas, and knowledge that are presented;
  • Establish a sustained conversation regarding issues and ideas that may not be presented in other academic journals; and
  • Break down the barriers of publishing academic research and stimulate forums, discussions, and roundtables where everyone can contribute.

Each issue features scholarly refereed articles, book reviews, essays, interviews and other works that develop new knowledge and stimulate advancements in subject areas related to the public arena, such as public policy, planning, public administration, governance, globalization, urban affairs, discourse analysis, and international development.

In addition to peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, and multimedia pieces that explore the theme of public knowledge, Baker says, “We are asking that readers help us contribute to the journal to make our conversation more robust.” Readers can contribute in a number of ways:

  • Post a comment about an article you’ve read;
  • Submit a podcast interview or story;
  • Participate in threaded discussions on specific topics;
  • Make links and connections to other Internet sources;
  • Return to the journal on a regular basis to continuously energize the conversation; and
  • Tell others about the journal and send them the link.

Although the journal officially is published biannually, periodic new postings of podcasts and other electronic media will provide a constant flow of ideas and discussions related to the featured question for that particular six-month period. The idea is to promote dialogue and interaction between readers and authors.

Inside the first issue

  • “Public Knowledge and Technologies in Use” distinguishes between public knowledge and publicly accessible knowledge.
  • “The Internet as Global Platform? Grounding the Magically Levitating Public Sphere” examines ways that democratic participation or global civil societies materialize in digital spaces.
  • “The Power of Language in the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” explores power and its effects in a UNESCO convention.
  • The National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA) Connexions Project discusses how this project represents an innovative, online tool for collecting, organizing, and sharing educational data.

The journal’s editorial board consists completely of students from a variety of disciplines and is guided by a six-member advisory board composed of faculty in diverse academic fields.

Editorial board members are

  • Editors-in-Chief: Kimberly Baker, Center for Public Administration and Policy, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and Beth Offenbacker, Center for Public Administration and Policy, National Capital Region, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Journal Manager: Elisabeth Chaves, Government and International Affairs, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Copyeditor: Ashley Patriarca, Rhetoric and Writing, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • Articles Editor: Saunji D. Fyffe, Center for Public Administration and Policy, National Capital Region, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Book Review Editor: John O’Brien, Center for Public Administration and Policy, National Capital Region, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Multimedia Submissions Editor: Nicolas Maxymiv, Dairy Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Reviewer: John O’Farrell, Center for Public Administration and Policy, National Capital Region, College of Architecture and Urban Studies

Advisory board members are

  • Kelly Belanger, associate professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Carol Brandt, assistant professor of teaching and learning, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Karen DePauw, vice president and dean for graduate education, Graduate School;
  • Anne Khademian, associate professor and associate chair, Center for Public Administration and Policy, National Capital Region, College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Tim Luke, University Distinguished Professor, political science, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; and
  • Max Stephenson, professor of urban affairs and planning and director of the Institute for Policy and Governance, College of Architecture and Urban Studies.