Humanities Commons: More than a Scholarly Network for Humanists

If you are a regular visitor to our blog, you might have noticed that The Scholarly Tales is a blog hosted by Humanities Commons (HC). We, at Artes research, actively promote the use of innovative, non-profit and community-led platforms such as HC and work to bring them to the attention of our readers and researchers. In this blogpost we will take you through the different aspects of the Humanities Commons platform and explain what it can offer you.

Humanities Commons labels itself as a “network for people working in the humanities,” but apart from enabling academic networking, HC also encompasses an Open Access repository, a webhosting structure, and a platform for collaborative work. Humanities Commons is dedicated to openness, which is evident in the fact that the platform is open to anyone, regardless of field, language, institutional affiliation, or form of employment. It is completely Open Access, Open Source and non-profit, in contrast to other academic networking platforms such as and ResearchGate, which do have commercial objectives and often have an aggressive advertisement strategy. At Humanities Commons you can rest assured that any content or information you contribute to the platform will never be used for commercial ends.

Humanities Commons as a scholarly network

The first step to begin using Humanities Commons is to create an account. Registration is easy: you can either link your profile with existing accounts from other applications such as Google or Twitter or you can make a completely new HC account. When you have officially joined the Commons, you can start building your profile. All your activity on HC will be linked here: your groups, your shared work, your websites, etc. The next step is to find colleagues and discover new like-minded researchers by browsing through and joining different groups or by creating your own group. Joining groups allows you to easily interact and collaborate with scholars who share common interests. If you create your own group, it is useful to know that you have the option to make the group either public, private, or hidden. All groups allow each member access to group discussion boards with e-mail notifications, shared calendar, file sharing, and collaborative documents.

HC stimulates communication between its members by making connections. Some ways you can do this include following other users to keep up-to-date with their work or by starting a private chat or using the @tag . Interacting in this more personal way is great for asking questions, getting feedback from colleagues on your work, and promoting events and publications.

Humanities Commons as an Open Access repository

The repository of HC is called the Commons Open Repository Exchange, or CORE. CORE offers users the possibility of archiving a copy of their work and sharing it with the world in Open Access. The content can be accessed and downloaded by anyone, even if they have not registered for an account.

You can upload a variety of materials to CORE – whether it’s a published paper, a syllabus, a blog post, an interview, a work in progress, a data set, or even audio or video files (there are some guidelines on file types and file size). Every type of research output can have an impact, so all different types of materials are accepted.

Works deposited to CORE are covered by the Humanities Commons Terms of Service, which offers protection against misuse. You can, however, publish your work under a Creative Commons (CC) license of your choosing. This will allow reuse of your work in accordance with the stipulations of the chosen CC license.

Every item you upload is given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that serves as a permanent identifier. DOIs provide persistent, citable metadata for scholarly and creative works, including gray literature such as blog posts, syllabi, data sets, presentations, and video and audio files.

The repository offers numerous methods of discoverability. All materials uploaded to CORE are indexed by Google, Google Scholar, SHARE, Altmetric, and BASE-OA. Since you can notify the members of any of your Humanities Commons groups when you have uploaded new material to CORE, you can easily bring your work to the attention of a relevant potential readership.

Lastly, CORE also provides long-term storage of your work since the files deposited in CORE are stored in the Columbia University Libraries’ long-term digital preservation storage system.

Humanities commons as a webhost

When you have registered with Humanities Commons, you can also start a blog or a site through their platform to boost your online presence, get feedback, or simply share information. Because of their emphasis on openness, sites on the Commons are by default open to anyone but, if necessary, you can restrict access.

Humanities Commons allows two types of sites: group sites and personal sites. Group sites are created by the administrator of a group who then determines the role of each of the other members.

Sites are built with WordPress, a popular Content Management System (CMS) that many are already familiar with. HC offers templates and plugins to personalize your site. The guides and extensive FAQ section navigate you through the different steps of creating your own online presence with ease. However, if you would encounter any difficulties or have any questions about starting your own WordPress website or blog, do get in touch with us! We would be happy to share some tips and tricks!

Humanities Commons is a user-friendly platform with a high emphasis on openness. Contrary to other scholarly networking sites, it is not focused on making profit through the exploitation of user data. The primary goal of Humanities Commons is to offer a space for researchers to connect and to share and archive scholarly work. It is a great alternative to other scholarly networking sites and is also a perfect way to support Open Access ideals while disseminating your research and building your online scholarly presence.








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