EduPunk Repositories

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.

When I posted a query about this to the Open Access Anthropology Google Group, archaeologist Mike Smith pointed me to a great blog post he had already written by Digger on this topic:

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: 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. 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). – 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

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.

6 thoughts on “EduPunk Repositories

  1. Digger

    Thanks for the trackback; just a little correction, but the Fait Attention blog is mine, not Michael’s. He’s over at and it was a couple of posts of his that prompted me to run the experiment. Cheers!

  2. ismael peña-lópez

    Honestly, I think we scholars — and knowledge workers in general — should begin to shift towards personal research portals, where our bios, writings, readings, etc. all converged in one single place.

    Not that I do not trust third parties’ solutions — commercial or institutional — or do not like their features: the question is that we (IMHO) increasingly need to define our online presence and personal research portals are way better for this than having all your info scattered around the web.


    PS: thanks for pointing to SelectedWorks: I did not know them :)

  3. Owen Wiltshire

    I just wanted to throw in my feeling of despair with this Mana’o thing.

    There was a lot of energy put into spreading the word around and now that is mostly lost. I emailed months ago to find out what was up, and offered to help out. These messages were ignored.

    Recently I volunteered to setup a mirroring system for the archive (a basic internet concept that has existed since the internets conception, that would have fixed all the server issues (but not administrative ones). So far I haven’t gotten a response…

    What about all the data in Mana’o right now? Can we not set that up online for now at least? What is this nonsense about just letting it die?

    Honestly, I feel really disappointed in the way mana’o turned out. If it actually dies, then it did more harm than good. I certainly appreciate all the work that went into it, and I want that thing to keep going, but to start over? what the…

    A central repository is crucial for the OA movement to succeed in anthropology.

    Also remember, most self-archiving mandates are clear to say that the repository must be disciplinary specific, or a university one. Using general repositories may not be so simple!!!

    Okay, so its not the end of the world, but if I could get my hands on the data in the repository, I’d be happy to get it all back online (i can’t handle adding new entries, but I could setup a form to automagically enter them – which of course is not the same as helping to format them as Mana’o was doing).

    I seem to have missed a lot of the discussion as to what happened to manao. I’ll keep digging around these forums to find out whats up!

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