I joined the Humanities Commons team as community manager at the end of May. I had moved through a handful of university posts within a few years–as a graduate student, a postdoc, and an adjunct–so I recognized the particular value of Humanities Commons for people who have temporary, contingent, multiple, or no academic institutional affiliations.
By design, Humanities Commons is open to all and committed to open access scholarship. Its repository, CORE, embraces a range of forms of scholarship (from monograph to podcast to syllabus). As Tamar Marvin noted earlier this week, Humanities Commons provides access to scholarship and space to create things, which is particularly valuable to those who aren’t supported with robust institutional resources.
A platform like Humanities Commons allows us to connect with people across and outside of the traditional structures that tend to silo us according to discipline, university, or job title. This August, I ran a webinar (with our summer intern Caitlin Duffy) on developing a professional online presence with Humanities Commons, and I emphasized how the networked aspects of Humanities Commons–the links between one’s profile, work uploaded to CORE, groups, and sites–facilitate connections with other scholars and their work. “Developing a professional online presence” on Humanities Commons becomes a contribution to a community, rather than any brash exercise in self-promotion. The fact that this community isn’t tied to any institutional affiliation can be a matter of convenience, in that you don’t have to worry about exporting, replicating, or losing your profile or website as your institutional affiliations shift (the way you might if you had a site on a university server). But more importantly, it’s integral to the interdisciplinary, international community we’ve begun to establish.
The things that make Humanities Commons valuable for those working outside of the academy, or in contingent positions, are also things that make the platform valuable for academics in more secure positions. It offers open access scholarship, spaces to collaborate with colleagues, and a venue to share one’s own research and teaching materials with a broad audience.
It has been exciting to see Humanities Commons grow to over 11,500 members this year. We look forward to supporting more conversation and collaboration, making more scholarship publicly available and easily discoverable. Thanks for being here.
Anne Donlon is community manager for Humanities Commons.