Bio


After working for some time on the educational implications of such knowledge systems as literary theory, curriculum theory, lexicography, and European imperialism, I have come to focus my studies on both analyzing and altering scholarly publishing practices to understand whether this body of knowledge might yet become more of a public resource for education and deliberation and whether we can develop software tools to help make that happen.

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2007 - Present)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Pacific Press Professor of Literacy and Technology, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia (1990 - 2007)
  • Associate Professor of Education, University of Calgary (1984 - 1990)
  • School Teacher, Sault Ste. Marie Board of Education (1973 - 1984)

Program Affiliations


  • Science, Technology and Society

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Sociology of Education (1982)
  • M.Ed., University of Toronto, Educational Theory (1980)
  • B.A., Laurentian University, English (1976)

Research Interests


  • History of Education
  • Literacy and Language
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


I work under the auspices of the Public Knowledge Project which is focused on extending access to, and the accessibility of, research and scholarship. The research is on student, professional, and public access to this educational resource, while PKP also engages in developing and designing open source software (free) publishing systems to improve the public and scholarly quality of peer-reviewed journals. This also involves international collaborations in Latin America, Africa, and South-East Asia are aimed at helping to better understand and strengthen scholarly publishing in those areas.

2020-21 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Orals Chair
    Misha Bykowski
  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Matthew Williams
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Emily Southerton

All Publications


  • The Confounding of Race in High School Biology Textbooks, 2014-2019 (Jan, 10.1007/s11191-020-00104-y, 2020) SCIENCE & EDUCATION Willinsky, J. 2020
  • The Confounding of Race in High School Biology Textbooks, 2014-2019 SCIENCE & EDUCATION Willinsky, J. 2020
  • Integrating Wikipedia editing into health professions education: a curricular inventory and review of the literature. Perspectives on medical education Maggio, L. A., Willinsky, J. M., Costello, J. A., Skinner, N. A., Martin, P. C., Dawson, J. E. 2020

    Abstract

    Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia read by millions seeking medical information. To provide health professions students with skills to critically assess, edit, and improve Wikipedia's medical content, a skillset aligned with evidence-based medicine (EBM), Wikipedia courses have been integrated into health professions schools' curriculum. This literature review and curricular inventory of Wikipedia educational initiatives provides an overview of current approaches and identifies directions for future initiatives and research.Five databases were searched for articles describing educational interventions to train health professional students to edit Wikipedia. Course dashboards, maintained by Wiki Education (Wiki Edu), were searched for curricular materials. From these sources, key details were extracted and synthesized, including student and instructor type, course content, educational methods, and student outcomes.Six articles and 27 dashboards reported courses offered between 2015 and 2019. Courses were predominantly offered to medical and nursing students. Instructors delivered content via videos, live lectures, and online interactive modules. Course content included logistics of Wikipedia editing, EBM skills, and health literacy. All courses included assignments requiring students to edit Wikipedia independently or in groups. Limited details on assessment of student learning were available.A small but growing number of schools are training health professions education students to improve Wikipedia's medical content. Course details are available on Wiki Edu dashboards and, to a lesser extent, in peer-reviewed publications. While more needs to be done in conducting and sharing assessment of student learning, integrating Wikipedia into health professions education has potential to facilitate learning of EBM and communication skills, improve Wikipedia's online content, and engage students with an autonomous environment while learning. Future considerations should include a thorough assessment of student learning and practices, a final review of student edits to ensure they follow Wikipedia's guidelines and are written in clear language, and improved sharing of teaching resources by instructors.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s40037-020-00620-1

    View details for PubMedID 33030643

  • Meta-Research: Reader engagement with medical content on Wikipedia. eLife Maggio, L. A., Steinberg, R. M., Piccardi, T., Willinsky, J. M. 2020; 9

    Abstract

    Articles on Wikipedia about health and medicine are maintained by WikiProject Medicine (WPM), and are widely used by health professionals, students and others. We have compared these articles, and reader engagement with them, to other articles on Wikipedia. We found that WPM articles are longer, possess a greater density of external links, and are visited more often than other articles on Wikipedia. Readers of WPM articles are more likely to hover over and view footnotes than other readers, but are less likely to visit the hyperlinked sources in these footnotes. Our findings suggest that WPM readers appear to use links to external sources to verify and authorize Wikipedia content, rather than to examine the sources themselves.

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.52426

    View details for PubMedID 32142406

  • If Research Libraries and Funders Finance Open Access: Moving beyond Subscriptions and APCs COLLEGE & RESEARCH LIBRARIES Willinsky, J., Rusk, M. 2019; 80 (3): 340–55
  • The politics after postmodernism begins with the political economy of our own work EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY Willinsky, J. 2018; 50 (14): 1568–69
  • The Academic Library in the Face of Cooperative and Commercial Paths to Open Access LIBRARY TRENDS Willinsky, J. 2018; 67 (2): 196–213
  • The Intellectual Properties of Learning: A Prehistory from Saint Jerome to John Locke Willinsky, J. University of Chicago Press. 2018
  • Intellectual Properties of Learning: A Prehistory from St. Jerome to John Locke Willinsky, J. University of Chicago Press. 2017
  • Wikipedia as a gateway to biomedical research: The relative distribution and use of citations in the English Wikipedia. PloS one Maggio, L. A., Willinsky, J. M., Steinberg, R. M., Mietchen, D., Wass, J. L., Dong, T. 2017; 12 (12): e0190046

    Abstract

    Wikipedia is a gateway to knowledge. However, the extent to which this gateway ends at Wikipedia or continues via supporting citations is unknown. Wikipedia's gateway functionality has implications for information design and education, notably in medicine. This study aims to establish benchmarks for the relative distribution and referral (click) rate of citations-as indicated by presence of a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)-from Wikipedia, with a focus on medical citations. DOIs referred from the English Wikipedia in August 2016 were obtained from Crossref.org. Next, based on a DOI's presence on a WikiProject Medicine page, all DOIs in Wikipedia were categorized as medical (WP:MED) or non-medical (non-WP:MED). Using this categorization, referred DOIs were classified as WP:MED, non-WP:MED, or BOTH, meaning the DOI may have been referred from either category. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Out of 5.2 million Wikipedia pages, 4.42% (n = 229,857) included at least one DOI. 68,870 were identified as WP:MED, with 22.14% (n = 15,250) featuring one or more DOIs. WP:MED pages featured on average 8.88 DOI citations per page, whereas non-WP:MED pages had on average 4.28 DOI citations. For DOIs only on WP:MED pages, a DOI was referred every 2,283 pageviews and for non-WP:MED pages every 2,467 pageviews. DOIs from BOTH pages accounted for 12% (n = 58,475). The referral of DOI citations found in BOTH could not be assigned to WP:MED or non-WP:MED, as the page from which the referral was made was not provided with the data. While these results cannot provide evidence of greater citation referral from WP:MED than non-WP:MED, they do provide benchmarks to assess strategies for changing referral patterns. These changes might include editors adopting new methods for designing and presenting citations or the introduction of teaching strategies that address the value of consulting citations as a tool for extending learning.

    View details for PubMedID 29267345

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5739466

  • Qualitative study of physicians' varied uses of biomedical research in the USA BMJ OPEN Maggio, L. A., Moorhead, L. L., Willinsky, J. M. 2016; 6 (11): e012846

    Abstract

    To investigate the nature of physicians' use of research evidence in experimental conditions of open access to inform training and policy.This qualitative study was a component of a larger mixed-methods initiative that provided 336 physicians with relatively complete access to research literature via PubMed and UpToDate, for 1 year via an online portal, with their usage recorded in web logs. Using a semistructured interview protocol, a subset of 38 physician participants were interviewed about their use of research articles in general and were probed about their reasons for accessing specific articles as identified through their web logs. Transcripts were analysed using a general inductive approach.Physician participants were recruited from and registered in the USA.38 physicians from 16 US states, engaged in 22 medical specialties, possessing more than 1 year of experience postresidency training participated.26 participants attested to the value of consulting research literature within the context of the study by making reference to their roles as clinicians, educators, researchers, learners, administrators and advocates. The physicians reported previously encountering what they experienced as a prohibitive paywall barrier to the research literature and other frustrations with the nature of information systems, such as the need for passwords.The findings, against the backdrop of growing open access to biomedical research, indicate that a minority of physicians, at least initially, is likely to seek out and use research and do so in a variety of common roles. Physicians' use of research in these roles has not traditionally been part of their training or part of the considerations for open access policies. The findings have implications for educational and policy initiatives directed towards increasing the effectiveness of this access to and use of research in improving the quality of healthcare.

    View details for PubMedID 27872121

  • Measuring, rating, supporting, and strengthening open access scholarly publishing in brazil. education policy analysis archives Neto, S. C., Willinsky, J., Alperin, J. P. 2016; 24 (54): n54
  • Qualitative study of physicians' varied uses of biomedical research in the USA BMJ open Maggio, L. A., Moorhead, L. L., Willinsky, J. M. 2016; 6 (11): e012846
  • In an Age of Open Access to Research Policies: Physician and Public Health NGO Staff Research Use and Policy Awareness. PloS one Moorhead, L. L., Holzmeyer, C., Maggio, L. A., Steinberg, R. M., Willinsky, J. 2015; 10 (7)

    Abstract

    Through funding agency and publisher policies, an increasing proportion of the health sciences literature is being made open access. Such an increase in access raises questions about the awareness and potential utilization of this literature by those working in health fields.A sample of physicians (N=336) and public health non-governmental organization (NGO) staff (N=92) were provided with relatively complete access to the research literature indexed in PubMed, as well as access to the point-of-care service UpToDate, for up to one year, with their usage monitored through the tracking of web-log data. The physicians also participated in a one-month trial of relatively complete or limited access.The study found that participants' research interests were not satisfied by article abstracts alone nor, in the case of the physicians, by a clinical summary service such as UpToDate. On average, a third of the physicians viewed research a little more frequently than once a week, while two-thirds of the public health NGO staff viewed more than three articles a week. Those articles were published since the 2008 adoption of the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as prior to 2008 and during the maximum 12-month embargo period. A portion of the articles in each period was already open access, but complete access encouraged a viewing of more research articles.Those working in health fields will utilize more research in the course of their work as a result of (a) increasing open access to research, (b) improving awareness of and preparation for this access, and (c) adjusting public and open access policies to maximize the extent of potential access, through reduction in embargo periods and access to pre-policy literature.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0129708

    View details for PubMedID 26200794

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4511689

  • In an age of open access to research policies: physician and Public Health NGO Staff Research Use and Policy Awareness PloS one Moorhead, L. L., Holzmeyer, C., Maggio, L. A., Steinberg, R. M., Willinsky, J. 2015; 10 (7): e0129708
  • Doing medical journals differently: Open Medicine, open access and academic freedom FUTURE OF THE ACADEMIC JOURNAL, SECOND EDITION Willinsky, J., Murray, S., Kendall, C., Palepu, A., Cope, B., Phillips, A. 2014: 331–56
  • How the rise of open access is altering journal publishing FUTURE OF THE ACADEMIC JOURNAL, SECOND EDITION Willinsky, J., Moorhead, L., Cope, B., Phillips, A. 2014: 195–222
  • Setting Aside the Course Reader: The Legal, Economic, and Pedagogical Reasons INNOVATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION Evans, B. J., Willinsky, J. 2013; 38 (5): 341–54
  • Critical literacy lessons for the intellectual properties of learning from Bede and Alcuin of York INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CULTURAL STUDIES Willinsky, J., Provenal, J. 2013; 16 (5): 475–89
  • Access of primary and secondary literature by health personnel in an academic health center: implications for open access. Journal of the Medical Library Association Maggio, L. A., Steinberg, R. M., Moorhead, L., O'Brien, B., Willinsky, J. 2013; 101 (3): 205-212

    Abstract

    The research sought to ascertain the types and quantity of research evidence accessed by health personnel through PubMed and UpToDate in a university medical center over the course of a year in order to better estimate the impact that increasing levels of open access to biomedical research can be expected to have on clinical practice in the years ahead.Web log data were gathered from the 5,042 health personnel working in the Stanford University Hospitals (SUH) during 2011. Data were analyzed for access to the primary literature (abstracts and full-text) through PubMed and UpToDate and to the secondary literature, represented by UpToDate (research summaries), to establish the frequency and nature of literature consulted.In 2011, SUH health personnel accessed 81,851 primary literature articles and visited UpToDate 110,336 times. Almost a third of the articles (24,529) accessed were reviews. Twenty percent (16,187) of the articles viewed were published in 2011.When it is available, health personnel in a clinical care setting frequently access the primary literature. While further studies are needed, this preliminary finding speaks to the value of the National Institutes of Health public access policy and the need for medical librarians and educators to prepare health personnel for increasing public access to medical research.

    View details for DOI 10.3163/1536-5050.101.3.010

    View details for PubMedID 23930091

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3738081

  • The intellectual and institutional properties of learning: Historical reflections on patronage, autonomy, and transaction NEW MEDIA & SOCIETY Willinsky, J., Provencal, J. 2013; 15 (3): 398–412
  • Developing the Scholarly Publishing in Latin America BIBLIOS-REVISTA DE BIBLIOTECOLOGIA Y CIENCIAS DE LA INFORMACION Willinsky, J. 2012: 113–16
  • Public Access and Use of Health Research: An Exploratory Study of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy Using Interviews and Surveys of Health Personnel JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH O'Keeffe, J., Willinsky, J., Maggio, L. 2011; 13 (4)

    Abstract

    In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy mandated open access for publications resulting from NIH funding (following a 12-month embargo). The large increase in access to research that will take place in the years to come has potential implications for evidence-based practice (EBP) and lifelong learning for health personnel.This study assesses health personnel's current use of research to establish whether grounds exist for expecting, preparing for, and further measuring the impact of the NIH Public Access Policy on health care quality and outcomes in light of time constraints and existing information resources.In all, 14 interviews and 90 surveys of health personnel were conducted at a community-based clinic and an independent teaching hospital in 2010. Health personnel were asked about the research sources they consulted and the frequency with which they consulted these sources, as well as motivation and search strategies used to locate articles, perceived level of access to research, and knowledge of the NIH Public Access Policy.In terms of current access to health information, 65% (57/88) of the health personnel reported being satisfied, while 32% (28/88) reported feeling underserved. Among the sources health personnel reported that they relied upon and consulted weekly, 83% (73/88) reported turning to colleagues, 77% (67/87) reported using synthesized information resources (eg, UpToDate and Cochrane Systematic Reviews), while 32% (28/88) reported that they consulted primary research literature. The dominant resources health personnel consulted when actively searching for health information were Google and Wikipedia, while 27% (24/89) reported using PubMed weekly. The most prevalent reason given for accessing research on a weekly basis, reported by 35% (31/88) of survey respondents, was to help a specific patient, while 31% (26/84) were motivated by general interest in research.The results provide grounds for expecting the NIH Public Access Policy to have a positive impact on EBP and health care more generally given that between a quarter and a third of participants in this study (1) frequently accessed research literature, (2) expressed an interest in having greater access, and (3) were aware of the policy and expect it to have an impact on their accessing research literature in the future. Results also indicate the value of promoting a greater awareness of the NIH policy, providing training and education in the location and use of the literature, and continuing improvements in the organization of biomedical research for health personnel use.

    View details for DOI 10.2196/jmir.1827

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299313300007

    View details for PubMedID 22106169

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3236667

  • The academic ethics of open access to research and scholarship ETHICS AND EDUCATION Willinsky, J., Alperin, J. 2011; 6 (3): 217–23
  • Open Access and Academic Reputation REPUTATION SOCIETY: HOW ONLINE OPINIONS ARE RESHAPING THE OFFLINE WORLD Willinsky, J., Masum, H., Tovey, M. 2011: 129–38
  • Visibility and Quality in Spanish-Language Latin American Scholarly Publishing INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Fischman, G., Alperin, J., Willinsky, J. 2010; 6 (4): 1–21
  • Joe L. Kincheloe, 1950-2008 CULTURAL STUDIES-CRITICAL METHODOLOGIES Willinsky, J. 2010; 10 (5): 366–67
  • Report and Recommendations from the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable (Book Review) LEARNED PUBLISHING Book Review Authored by: Campbell, B., Willinsky, J., Anderson, R. 2010; 23 (3): 264–66

    View details for DOI 10.1087/20100310

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287623000009

  • Socrates Back on the Street: Wikipedia's Citing of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy EMERGING DIGITAL SPACES IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY: PROPERTIES OF TECHNOLOGY Willinsky, J., KalantzisCope, P., GherabMartin, K. 2010: 157–71
  • The Monastic Paradox and the Intellectual Properties of Learning LOGOS-JOURNAL OF THE WORLD PUBLISHING COMMUNITY Willinsky, J. 2010; 21 (3-4): 152–60
  • Commentary: The Intellectual Properties of Literacy LEARNING LANDSCAPES Willinsky, J. 2009; 3 (1)
  • DERRIDA'S RIGHT TO PHILOSOPHY, THEN AND NOW EDUCATIONAL THEORY Willinsky, J. 2009; 59 (3): 279–96
  • The Stratified Economics of Open Access ECONOMIC ANALYSIS AND POLICY Willinsky, J. 2009; 39 (1): 53–70
  • What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, 2nd ed (Book Review) SCIENCE Book Review Authored by: Willinsky, J. 2009; 323 (5910): 39–40
  • "It May Change My Understanding of the Field": Understanding Reading Tools for Scholars and Professional Readers DIGITAL HUMANITIES QUARTERLY Siemens, R., Leitch, C., Blake, A., Armstrong, K., Willinsky, J. 2009; 3 (4)
  • The Publisher's Pushback against NIH's Public Access and Scholarly Publishing Sustainability PLOS BIOLOGY Willinsky, J. 2009; 7 (1): 20–22

    View details for PubMedID 19175295

  • Doing medical journals differently: Open Medicine, open access and academic freedom FUTURE OF THE ACADEMIC JOURNAL Willinsky, J., Murray, S., Kendall, C., Palepu, A., Cope, B., Phillips, A. 2009: 259–79
  • International Development and Research Capacities: Increasing Access to African Scholarly Publishing CANADIAN JOURNAL OF HIGHER EDUCATION Metcalfe, A., Esseh, S., Willinsky, J. 2009; 39 (3): 89–109
  • Open Access to e-Research E-RESEARCH: TRANSFORMATION IN SCHOLARLY PRACTICE Lucas, R., Willinsky, J., Jankowski, N. W. 2009; 1: 259–72
  • Educating for Participation in the Networked Environment POLICY FUTURES IN EDUCATION Aigrain, P., Benkler, Y., Chan, L., Guedon, J., Willinsky, J. 2008; 6 (2): 169–75
  • The Wealth of Networks: how social production transforms markets and freedom (Book Review) POLICY FUTURES IN EDUCATION Book Review Authored by: Aigrain, P., Chan, L., Guedon, J., Willinsky, J., Benkler, Y. 2008; 6 (2): 152–69
  • The Access Principle: the case for open access to research and scholarship REPLY POLICY FUTURES IN EDUCATION Willinsky, J. 2007; 5 (3): 416–23
  • Case studies in open access publishing. Number three. Open access on a zero budget: a case study of Postcolonial Text INFORMATION RESEARCH-AN INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONIC JOURNAL Willinsky, J., Mendis, R. 2007; 12 (3)
  • Doing Medical Journals Differently: Open Medicine, Open Access, and Academic Freedom CANADIAN JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION Willinsky, J., Murray, S., Kendall, C., Palepu, A. 2007; 32 (3): 595–612
  • How complementary and alternative medicine practitioners use PubMed JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH Willinsky, J., Quint-Rapoport, M. 2007; 9 (2): e19

    Abstract

    PubMed is the largest bibliographic index in the life sciences. It is freely available online and is used by professionals and the public to learn more about medical research. While primarily intended to serve researchers, PubMed provides an array of tools and services that can help a wider readership in the location, comprehension, evaluation, and utilization of medical research.This study sought to establish the potential contributions made by a range of PubMed tools and services to the use of the database by complementary and alternative medicine practitioners.In this study, 10 chiropractors, 7 registered massage therapists, and a homeopath (N = 18), 11 with prior research training and 7 without, were taken through a 2-hour introductory session with PubMed. The 10 PubMed tools and services considered in this study can be divided into three functions: (1) information retrieval (Boolean Search, Limits, Related Articles, Author Links, MeSH), (2) information access (Publisher Link, LinkOut, Bookshelf ), and (3) information management (History, Send To, Email Alert). Participants were introduced to between six and 10 of these tools and services. The participants were asked to provide feedback on the value of each tool or service in terms of their information needs, which was ranked as positive, positive with emphasis, negative, or indifferent.The participants in this study expressed an interest in the three types of PubMed tools and services (information retrieval, access, and management), with less well-regarded tools including MeSH Database and Bookshelf. In terms of their comprehension of the research, the tools and services led the participants to reflect on their understanding as well as their critical reading and use of the research. There was universal support among the participants for greater access to complete articles, beyond the approximately 15% that are currently open access. The abstracts provided by PubMed were felt to be necessary in selecting literature to read but entirely inadequate for both evaluating and learning from the research. Thus, the restrictions and fees the participants faced in accessing full-text articles were points of frustration.The study found strong indications of PubMed's potential value in the professional development of these complementary and alternative medicine practitioners in terms of engaging with and understanding research. It provides support for the various initiatives intended to increase access, including a recommendation that the National Library of Medicine tap into the published research that is being archived by authors in institutional archives and through other websites.

    View details for PubMedID 17613489

  • Why open access to research and scholarship? JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE Willinsky, J. 2006; 26 (36): 9078–79

    View details for PubMedID 16957064

  • The access principle: The case for open access to research Willinsky, J. FEDERATION AMER SOC EXP BIOL. 2006: A439
  • ACCESS TO RESEARCH IN CAMEROONIAN UNIVERSITIES ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES Willinsky, J., Jonas, R., Shafack, R., Wirsiy, K. 2005; 21 (1)
  • JUST SAY KNOW? SCHOOLING THE KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY EDUCATIONAL THEORY Willinsky, J. 2005; 55 (1): 97-+
  • Our Political State in an Age of Globalization COMMUNITIES OF DIFFERENCE: CULTURE, LANGUAGE, TECHNOLOGY Willinsky, J., Trifonas, P. P. 2005: 37–51
  • Teaching for a World of Increasing Access to Knowledge Demo Translation Journal Willinsky, J. 2005; 1 (1)