EduPunk, as I understand it, refers to scholars who, frustrated by the inferior tools offered by their universities, have embraced free online (i.e. “web 2.0″) social tools as a substitute. Much of the focus of EduPunk has been on teaching; for instance, using Google Groups instead of Blackboard. But I think Anthropologists should also think about Edupunk for Open Access archiving. Responses to Jason’s post make it clear that Anthropologists are sorely lacking in institutional repositories where they can store their work. As Peter Suber pointed out in his comment, if your university offers an institutional repository you should make use of it. But many of us are not so lucky.
There is, of course Mana’o, but as Jason pointed out, that has been off line for some time. It is possible that it will be resuscitated, but since it doesn’t look like the AAA is likely to offer a service which would compete with Anthrosource, I’d like to suggest that Anthropologists start looking at some of the Edupunk alternatives.
So I did a little experiment. I fished out some conference papers I’ve given, a couple of journal articles, and a book. I posted them to four “put your stuff out there” locations online, all free:
Mendeley.com Mostly a reference management tool that lets you access your .pdfs from anywhere – especially helpful when I have references that overlap between work and personal. They do also have a Personal Profile page, where you can make your own work available as downloads for anyone. The site can be slow to load.
CiteULike Again, mostly a reference management tool, similar to Mendeley. You can make your papers available for download by anyone. I find it kinda clunky vs. Mendely, but have found a few references I didn’t otherwise know about.
Academia.edu Facebook for academics. With the ability to post papers for people to access, as well as posting research interests, joining groups of folks that share your interests, etc. Perk: you get email when someone searches on you or “follows” you, and you can see how many people have looked at your stuff. Note: it only -looks- like you need a university affiliation to be listed here. Scroll through, there is an “Independent Researcher” catagory.
SelectedWorks Strictly a portal to post your stuff and have it available. Folks can subscribe to get updates, but that’s about it for the acasocial framework. One perk: realtime reports about how many copies of your stuff have been downloaded. They also convert your .docs into .pdfs and index them.
Time passed. The results? Mendeley and CiteuLike, from what I can tell, did squat for me in the “making stuff available” department (though I’m sticking with Mendeley for managing references). Academia.edu – had a few folks peek at the papers; apparently there is a trickle of visitors coming in via Google, no Google Scholar links. I give it a meh.
The real winner here is SelectedWorks. I can see people are accessing and downloading my stuff. It is totally easy to update my site. And, time to Google Scholar for everything (book, journal articles, conference papers) = 1 month. Even though I didn’t provide full text for the book and one journal article, they’re now indexed in Google Scholar.
If your university has an account with SelectedWorks, it’s easy to get listed. But, you can be listed as an individual for free, it’s just not readily apparent. From their homepage, scroll to the bottom and click “Start a Site”. You will have to email them directly to get an access code (took < 1 day for me). That’s it. I found tweaking my abstracts to include words others might search for was helpful (Search Engine Optimization for scholarly papers, woot!), and the realtime download stats let me track that.
This is win-win, for writers (who get their stuff out there) and for researchers (who can find more stuff). It’s a little nerve-wracking to know that my stuff is being read, but I’m coping!
I am really impressed with SelectedWorks as well. I had forgotten that I’d signed up with an account some time ago. It took some time for them to get back to me, but as Mike Digger says, it is easy to sign up for a free account. Other options that Mike Digger didn’t mention include
- The Open Anthropology Cooperative has created its own repository in a wiki format.
- Scribd. Harvard UP has just begun selling 1000s of books via Scribd, using it as a digital publishing platform, including a few free titles as well. NYU and MIT Press are using it as well (although in different ways).
- Google Docs. They are improving their PDF capabilities, although it seems that one still needs to be logged in to Google Docs to read “public” PDFs.
- And a million file sharing tools such as Box.net, Mediafire, and Drop.io. Although these sites may not be as open to Google search results, you can store files there and link to them from your personal web page if you have one, or together with the OAC Repository wiki mentioned above.
There are certainly a lot of options out there now. But we also have to ask about the down side. What is lost when we post to an EduPunk archive instead of a proper institutional repository? For one thing, we loose a lot by not having proper metadata entered by a trained librarian, as was the case with Mana’o. And what about the legal issues? Open Access legal statements seem focused on personal websites and institutional repositories. There doesn’t seem to be language for something the kinds of services listed above… And, in his reply to my e-mail, Chris Kelty pointed out some other problems:
what is the eduPunk approach to archival persistence? How would these tools allow for permanent findability and a certain sense that one can be sure it will stay available for a long time? DOI numbers require an institutional home… COiNs data are easy to add to a blog post… Zotero can find things with this data… so maybe part of the blog post should be best practices for eduPunk future-proofing…
All important questions to ask. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!
UPDATE: Changed author of blog post to Digger as per comments.