CUNY Academic Works Workshop

A couple weeks ago, I attended a workshop by Jill Cirasella—Librarian at CUNY on Scholarly Communication—about CUNY Academic Works. As a follow-up with other talks and workshops on open/public access scholarship understood generally, this talk focused on CUNY’s addition to such work: CUNY Academic Works. The platform is a service of the CUNY libraries dedicated to collecting and providing access to the research, scholarship, and creative work of the CUNY; in service to CUNY’s mission as a public university, content in Academic Works is freely available to all.

In distinction from open access platforms, CUNY Academic Works is a public access service, in that it does not require an open access license—all that’s needed is rights to share your work online. CUNY Academic Works, as Jill lays out, is a great opportunity for CUNY-affiliated people to make their work publicly available, and reach wide audiences, including readers you’d have never imagined would read your work. In fact, you can see the ripple effect of your work with visualizations provided by the service.

The service provides:

  • online access to works no otherwise available
  • cost-free online access to works paywalled elsewhere
  • long-term online access to works on impermanent sites

While most of us may be familiar with the platform in that GC dissertations, theses, and capstones projects must be published on it, with CUNY Academic Works you can also upload:

  • Journal articles
  • books and book chapters working papers/reports
  • datasets
  • conference presentations
  • reviews of books, films, etc.
  • open education resources (OER)
  • and other forms of scholarly, pedagogical, or creative work

While a lot of different file types can be uploaded to CUNY Academic Works, dynamic creations can’t be uploaded. Usually, code is uploaded in such cases, and a lot of DH practitioners upload .warp files.

Jill then went into general concepts around publishing, mentioning that in most cases and with most publishers, you are allowed to post some version of your article, noting that most allow some form of self-archiving. Additionally, you can sometimes negotiate your contract, and specifying the terms under which you’d like to publish. You can also sometimes ask after you’ve published that you may want to add to the repository—CUNY Academic Works being one option. She recommended NOT doing so on commercial sites, such as ResearchGate and, as these sites sometimes end up being sold, meaning everything disappears. Additionally, these companies actively sell user data for profit.

In regards to actually uploading to CUNY Academic Works, the process is relatively straightforward. You don’t need to create an account with CUNY, but you will need to be affiliated. Submission provides the following inputs:

  • List of places your work will be submitted and live (i.e. GC, State Island, etc.) but can indicate your affiliations later
  • Document type – Publication date
  • Agreement of ownership
  • Embargo period (i.e. a period during which it is unavailable to the public)
  • Keywords
  • Disciplines
  • Language
  • Abstract Field
    • Shouldn’t be copy-pasted; Google scholar will match the abstract to the paywalled version, and may not share the CUNY academic works version if the abstract is the same
  • Additional comments
  • Upload file
    • Can also upload additional files

Lastly, Jill gave some advice to authors when considering publishing options, which I found heartening (the following is directly from her slides):

  • Ask yourself why you write (To share ideas, advance theory, add knowledge? To build a reputation? To be cited? To get a job? To get tenure and promotion?)
  • Research any journal/publisher you’re considering. (Quality? Peer reviewing process? Copyright policy?)
  • If you have the right to share your article online, exercise that right! (Whose interests do paywalls serve?)
  • If you don’t have the right share online, request it.