The Modern Language Association recently announced an exciting open-access project, Humanities Core, funded by the NEH. The project is very ambitious and promises to be a valuable asset for researchers, particularly those without access to the expensive databases of large universities. The announcement explains the project:
The MLA and Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Center for Digital Research and Scholarship are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a $60,000 start-up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to begin development of Humanities Commons Open Repository Exchange, or Humanities CORE. Humanities CORE will connect a library-quality repository for sharing, discovering, retrieving, and archiving digital work with Humanities Commons, a developing platform for collaboration among scholarly societies and other humanities organizations. The interface will enable MLA members and other participants in Humanities Commons to link to uploaded materials from their profiles, creating an interactive professional vita.
While Humanities CORE hasn’t launched, the MLA CORE beta is open. There are several hundred works deposited on the MLA CORE beta, including a number of course materials, articles, and even books. Currently, the beta for submitting work is open to MLA Commons members only, but even in this early stage it shows its potential for a resource (particularly for things that are valuable but not often shared in an easily-accessible archive, like syllabus examples).
Going open-access with your work broadens the potential readership: we’ve advocated for open access frequently at ProfHacker. The SHERPA/RoMEO open access look-up tool makes it easy to find the typical permissions journals send authors for making work open access. These vary wildly, so it’s important to check before you add previously published work. While some institutions have dedicated repositories, one of the dominant “open-access” sites right now is Academia.edu. However, the site has come under warranted critique for its approach to open access — Gary Hall has a great article on concerns about using it as a repository. Humanities CORE offers one important vision for a future of a far less corporate archive.
Have you tried out MLA CORE, or used materials from the repository? Share your tips in the comments!