Repository Curation Update: Faculty Outreach Pilot

Here is one of a three-part series of repository updates at the GC Library during my time here as the Repository Project Curator.

Faculty Outreach Pilot

This project is designed to support GC faculty to post their academic work openly so that readers can get to this scholarship easily and without cost through CUNY Academic Works. This is especially helpful to scholars without access to expensive journals. As a well-known, huge institution serving publics in the city and around the world, CUNY libraries figure that making our publicly supported scholarship open and available to the public is about as core to the CUNY mission as anything. Further, many CUNY GC faculty and students want their work to be freely available through the Academic Works repository. It not only fulfills the mission of the university, it also increases the readership of CUNY-authored articles and book chapters that would otherwise be locked behind commercial paywalls. CUNY authors write to be widely read, and making their work open is the first step in increasing their impact and their citations, amplifying their perspectives in both academic and non-academic conversations.

Being “open” means barrier-free access to the knowledge researchers create. An open access scholarly landscape allows for greater production of knowledge, one that includes more voices and perspectives. With CUNY Academic Works, academic knowledge becomes a worldwide, free resource, as it should be. Open access scholarship is the future of academia. Higher education can reclaim a larger knowledge distribution, and pull back on the profiteering and gatekeeping over distribution of academic knowledge that publishing companies exercise in great portion today. 

Below is a screenshot of the CUNY Academic Works download map, a fascinating and mesmerizing feature on the CUNY Academic Works website, where the site’s downloads are displayed in real time. It shows both what works readers are downloading, and where on the planet they are downloading them from. All over the globe people are discovering CUNY scholars’ open access works. Let’s expand the world of scholarship, and make it all available to them! 

Screenshot of the CUNY Academic Works readership map

Screenshot of the CUNY Academic Works readership map. The map is constantly moving, constantly active. 

While the actual process of getting students and faculty to post their works to CUNY Academic Works is multi-stepped and requires investigation into copyright, confirmation of article title and type, a detailed abstract, and campus affiliation, among other details, the process that we are in now is clearing which articles can be posted, in their final version, publicly. The online tool SHERPA/ROMEO has been essential in this process. It is an incredible tool that allows authors (and their advocates) to see clearly which journals allow which versions of published articles to be shared on institutional repositories such as CUNY Academic Works. For example, some journals will allow an early version of the manuscript to be posted, but not the final version with the publishers’ formatting and copyedits. We are working first with Graduate Center faculty who support the mission to be aggressively open, and we are trying our best to make as many Graduate Center faculty articles widely available. It’s heartening to know so many faculty members welcome library assistance on this project! 

As I continue this CUNY Academic Works project in progress, additional updates will appear here on the library blog.

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