Luís Henriques is a musicologist and PhD candidate at the University of Évora. In this special birthday-edition HC User Spotlight, he reflects on how he has used CORE (over 250 deposits!) and sites hosted on the Commons to share his work.
I joined the Humanities Commons community in early 2017. The platform had launched in late 2016, so it was still in a very initial stage with not many users. I remember that at the time I was disappointed with surge of commercial advertisement and the introduction of a “premium” feature in academia.edu, where I had all of my research output. After reading an article posted by a senior scholar and user of that website where he raised some interesting questions for reflection, I started looking for a non-commercial platform. I found a 3-minute video of Nicky Agate at OpenCon 2016 on the The Right to Research Coalition YouTube channel. This led me to search for HC and found the website. In short, this is the story of me finding the Humanities Commons website.
My comment on the HC platform is based on my personal experience during these two and a half years as a user and is focused on the features I use most, which are the CORE repository and Sites. I’m a musicologist in the final year of my PhD at the University of Évora, Portugal. Although the university has a repository, part of the national research network, students (even PhDs) are not allowed to upload their research to the universities repositories. HC presents itself as a fast and responsible way of sharing my research with members and outside researchers who can easily download it (this last point is very important).
The CORE feature is very clean in terms of accessing the metadata on the research you have uploaded. The upload process is, in my opinion, also very easy and direct. It only takes a few minutes to do and, after uploading three or four items, it’s practically intuitive. The support team is also very accessible if you have a problem with any uploaded item and need to correct anything. Work in CORE also appears in Google Scholar searches which is very good in terms of reach.
I have invested mostly in the CORE repository and the WordPress site feature. I used to be a WordPress.com user but, since they have introduced advertisements in posts and pages, I begin to transfer my blogs to the HC platform. Besides being ad-free, it has some interesting templates that for a non-expert code and website manager like myself were very useful and provided great results in terms of homepage arrangement and features. I built my personal website and other websites for my vocal ensembles. Later, I also housed in HC websites for some research projects. I was not very comfortable to leave the WP admin dashboard, which I find very easy to use, to other free website platforms (which, in the free version also have ads). I’m currently very satisfied with my website and current template. I must say it takes some outside work (especially with the images) to put the website as I wanted, probably more effort than in other “create your own website” platforms, but after this initial effort things get very easy.
I strongly suggest HC as a great non-commercial choice for publishing your research materials, where you can be sure you are treated with the most kindness and can reach a wide network. On this birthday, I wish that HC will continue this wonderful work and can grow to an even wider network of users.