Published: Nov. 10, 2021

A few years ago, a group of CU Boulder graduate students in the School of Education wanted to advance conversations about what public scholarship in education could look like. These scholars are the founding members of The Assembly, an open access, peer-reviewed online publication offering public scholarship committed to democracy, diversity, equity and justice in education. 

“Many journals are behind paywalls and are thus not accessible to the public,” Molly Hamm-Rodriguez, a PhD candidate in the School of   Education and a member of The Assembly’s editorial board said. “We wanted our journal to reach beyond academia, as many of our pieces are co-authored with teachers, activists, community organizations, youth and other partners. It was important for us to use a hosting service that embraced open access but that could also index the journal so it was attractive to a variety of potential authors.” 

Since its inception, the editorial team has published three volumes of The Assembly, the most recent being a Special Issue on Place and Displacement. The issue includes a wide range of co-authored pieces that include empirical work as well as deep reflections and creative essays that combine a range of modalities and entry points for engagement. The Assembly is one of the first peer-reviewed, open access journals hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries through the open source journal hosting platform Open Journal Systems (OJS). This platform hosts and provides an editorial and peer review management platform for fully open access journal publications. 

“Open Journal Systems is a great addition to the broad range of infrastructure and services CU Boulder has to support authors in publishing their research open access,” Scholarly Communication Librarian Melissa Cantrell said.

Currently, the University Libraries are hosting nine journals through OJS, ranging in disciplines that include linguistics, performance, religious studies, computational molecular science and more. The most recent addition is the University of Colorado Honors Journal, an interdisciplinary, undergraduate student-run journal published annually by the Arts & Sciences Honors Program. The 2022 issue of the journal will be published on the platform in April.

Faculty, staff, students or units associated with CU Boulder are eligible to apply to host their journal or similar type of publication with the University Libraries. In addition to hosting and technical support, the libraries also offer consultations, access to training on the software management systems, intellectual property rights consultations and more. Hamm-Rodriguez called working with the libraries to host The Assembly a great learning opportunity for graduate students to see the ‘back end’ of how journals operate and to be active in that process. 

“In some ways, it helps demystify the publication process while also ensuring that as a team we can reimagine what publishing can look like and what purposes it serves,” Hamm-Rodriguez said.

The University Libraries are accepting applications to host more journals. If you are interested in applying or learning more about the hosting services provided by the University Libraries, visit our website.