Introducing Megan Wacha, Your New Scholarly Communications Librarian!

megan cropped 2Open access advocates around CUNY are thrilled to announce the arrival (and extremely productive first few weeks) of Megan Wacha, CUNY’s new Scholarly Communications Librarian, based at the Office of Library Services. While many CUNY librarians have long engaged, both formally and informally, with open access, repositories, and other scholarly communications topics, Megan is CUNY’s first librarian dedicated entirely to scholarly communications, and I know I speak for many when I say we’re eager — nay, ravenous — for her expertise, collaboration, and leadership.

Megan will be engaged with a wide variety of scholarly communications conversations, but her initial focus will be developing and managing CUNY’s new institutional repository, Academic Works. She will also co-chair OLS’s brand new Scholarly Communications Committee. And, of course, she’ll be a frequent blogger right here at Open Access @ CUNY.

Before coming to CUNY, Megan was Research and Instruction Librarian for the Performing Arts at Barnard College, where she led outreach on scholarly communications topics, served on the advisory committee to Columbia’s institutional repository (Academic Commons), provided guidance on fair use and copyright issues, trained editors of an open access undergraduate journal, and helped support various digital projects. She is also an active Wikipedian — her Wikipedia efforts include working to increase contributions by and about women and people from other marginalized groups. (And we can’t leave out the fact that she won Knowledge Unlatched’s open access meme competition!)

Many of you have already met Megan, but if you haven’t, you are welcome to reach out to her at

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Handouts from “Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask . . . About CUNY’s New Institutional Repository Platform”

Maybe you weren’t able to attend last Friday’s workshop “Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask . . . About CUNY’s New Institutional Repository Platform.” Or maybe you attended but lost the handouts on the subway or in the snow. Either way, here are the handouts distributed and discussed at the event:

Please take a look, share with your colleagues (and Chief Librarians!) and let us know if you have any questions!


Download Map for Graduate Center Academic Works : 1,122 papers, 25,754 downloads, and counting!

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Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask . . . About CUNY’s New Institutional Repository Platform

The LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable (SCRT) invites you to a presentation on Academic Works, CUNY’s new institutional repository, with speakers Megan Wacha and Jill Cirasella. Hear about exciting plans and progress made by CUNY’s new Scholarly Communications Librarian, and learn about the Graduate Center’s implementation of their local instance. Leave with ideas about how to rock your campus with Academic Works.

Friday, February 20
Graduate Center, Room 9205
RSVP requested by Thursday, February 12
Snacks provided


Jill Cirasella is the Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication at the Graduate Center CUNY, where she leads numerous scholarly communications initiatives, including the GC’s new institutional repository, Academic Works. Jill is a vocal advocate of open access and seeks to promote understanding and adoption of open access at CUNY and beyond.

Megan Wacha is CUNY’s new Scholarly Communications Librarian. Prior to joining CUNY in January 2015, Megan was a research and instruction librarian at Barnard College, where she instigated for information access by promoting Columbia’s institutional repository, organizing Wikipedia edit-a-thons, among other activities.

For further information please contact the LACUNY SCRT co-chairs Jean Amaral ( and Karen Okamoto (

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Now Hiring: Data Librarian @ CUNY Graduate Center

Come work with us — the Graduate Center Library is hiring a Data Librarian! The Data Librarian will serve as the library’s expert on the discovery, manipulation, preservation, and publication of research-related data. S/he will work with faculty and students across the disciplines, providing instruction and support for the multifarious forms and roles of data in research and scholarly production.

Full Job Posting:

Data Librarian (Instructor, Assistant or Associate Professor)
Job ID: 11933
Department: Library
Compensation: Commensurate with experience and qualifications
Closing Date: February 14, 2015
Faculty Vacancy Announcement

Assistant/Associate Professor:

Supports a college library through providing in-depth consultation with students and faculty and collaboration for the ongoing improvement of instructional programs and practices. Pursues an active scholarly agenda, performs supervisory duties, and participates in college-and university-wide programs and committees as assigned.


Supports a college library through providing in-depth consultation with students and faculty and collaboration for the ongoing improvement of instructional programs and practices.

About the Graduate Center:

The Graduate Center defines the standard of contemporary graduate education: rigorous academic training and globally significant research. It is recognized for outstanding scholarship across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, and is integral to the intellectual and cultural vitality of New York City. Through its extensive public programs, The Graduate Center hosts a wide range of events — lectures, conferences, book discussions, art exhibits, concerts, and dance and theater — that enrich and inform.

Position Description:

The Graduate Center Library seeks a Data Librarian to serve as the library’s expert on the discovery, manipulation, preservation, and publication of research-related data. Reporting to the Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication, the Data Librarian will work with faculty and students across the disciplines, providing instruction and support for the multifarious forms and roles of data in research and scholarly production.

Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Work with faculty and students who require support for research involving data (including but not limited to geospatial, demographic, and economic research), assistance creating and following data management plans required by funding agencies, and/or training in related tools and software.
  • Help faculty and students discover, collect, mine, extract, analyze, apply, maintain, secure, curate, display, share, and publish data. Advise about appropriate repositories for selecting and storing data. Support projects involving all kinds of data (GIS, demographic, bibliographic, numerical, text, sound, image, etc.), as well as projects in which data is being digitized from analog sources.
  • Offer cross-disciplinary group and one-on-one instruction on topics such as data manipulation and analysis, data management planning, file and citation management, and data visualization.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge about data tools and techniques, and integrate that knowledge into other duties.
  • Provide reference service in person, by chat, by email, and by phone.
  • Serve as a subject liaison for the social sciences, which includes performing outreach to departments, providing group and one-on-one instruction in research in those fields, analyzing and building collections, and helping researchers self-archive their work in the institutional repository.
  • Produce scholarly research and provide academic service in accordance with the library’s tenure and promotion criteria.
  • Participate in the training of library staff, interns, and other collaborators.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.


All titles require a Master’s in Library Science (MLS), Master’s in Library Information Studies (MLIS), or closely related discipline from an ALA-accredited institution.  Also required is the ability to work with others for the good of the institution.  For appointment as Assistant or Associate Professor, a second graduate degree is required.

A preferred candidate should have:

  • Familiarity with data management plans and data preservation tools
  • Knowledge of licensing and rights issues in relation to data use and sharing
  • Familiarity with web-based and open-source technologies used with data
  • Significant experience using geospatial, demographic, and quantitative data and related tools (e.g., XML/XSLT, Google Map API, ArcGIS, or QGIS)
  • Familiarity with major metadata standards (e.g., DC, DDI, OAI-PMH, MODS, METS, PREMIS, or MARC)
  • Experience with statistical software packages (e.g., Stata, R, D3, MATLAB, SAS, or SPSS)
  • Experience with exhibition and data visualization platforms (e.g., Scalar, Omeka, Gephi, Mapbox, or StoryMaps)
  • Advanced Excel skills
  • Experience with one or more scripting languages (e.g., PHP, PERL, or Python); SQL (e.g., MySQL or Microsoft SQL); HTML and CSS
  • Excellent communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrated success with self-directed learning and project management
  • Language proficiency in addition to English
  • Teaching experience
  • Reference experience
  • Experience in an academic library or with advanced researchers

How to Apply:

Please apply using the link below:

Click on “Apply Now” below which will bring you to the registration screen. If you are a new user, you must register to apply. If you already have a user ID, please use your existing ID to apply. Make sure to upload a cover letter and resume with the contact information of 3 professional references by the closing date.

Or go to and search for Job ID 11933.

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LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable Meeting: Jan 23, 2015

The next Library Association of CUNY (LACUNY) Scholarly Communications Roundtable Meeting is scheduled for Friday January 23, 2015, 2pm-4pm in the John Jay College Library Conference Room. Agenda items will include:
– planning the institutional repository event in February
– planning an alt-metrics presentation later in the spring
– your suggestions
Please send agenda items to Jean ( or me ( Thank you!

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Open Access: What Is It and Why All the Fuss?

(Déjà vu? This is a very slight reworking of a post from the Graduate Center Library blog.)

Image is CC BY-NC-ND from JISC.

Image is CC BY-NC-ND from JISC.

You might have noticed that CUNY librarians talk a lot about open access — sometimes in conversations about dissertation embargoes, sometimes on the topic of authors’ rights, sometimes in the context of Academic Works, CUNY’s soon-to-arrive institutional repository (already up and running at the Graduate Center). But maybe you’ve never really gotten a full explanation of what open access is. Or maybe you know what it is but aren’t convinced it’s a pressing issue. Or maybe you understand how it affects you as a reader but aren’t sure how you should factor it into your actions as an author.

I recently wrote a piece about open access for the “Jargon” column of the sociology magazine Contexts, and it might address some of your questions.

What is open access?

“Even if the term ‘open access’ is not in your working vocabulary, you almost certainly understand the phenomenon of open access, or free online availability, as well as its opposite, placement behind a paywall. Of course, an enormous number of news articles, blog posts, and cat videos are freely available online, but ‘open access’ is not usually used to describe those kinds of online offerings. Rather, the conversation about open access centers on research and academic works—journal articles, scholarly books, textbooks, and dissertations—which are usually available only for a fee.”

But what should I care, and what’s wrong with journal subscriptions, anyway?

“Most social action for open access has focused on scholarly journals, largely because many journal subscriptions are wildly expensive, out of proportion with the costs of publishing. In 2012 the Economist reported, ‘Publishing obscure academic journals is that rare thing in the media industry: a [license] to print money.’ Indeed, seemingly arbitrarily high subscription prices that increase year after year have left readers, libraries, and universities feeling gouged. Furthermore, many authors wish to dissociate themselves from commercial publishers that make huge profits from nonprofit institutions, preferring to participate in a publishing system that better connects readers with research and is more consistent with their values. For these reasons and more, journals are a natural starting point for an upheaval in the academic publishing industry.”

So what’s in it for me?

“[J]ournal publishers do not pay their authors, so authors do not lose any income by making their works freely available. In fact, they stand to benefit from open access: When articles are easy to find and free to read, they attract more readers, generate more discussion, and get cited more in later articles.

Of course, authors aren’t the only beneficiaries of open access. When journal articles are freely available, students can better master their fields; scholars can better perform their research; and teachers, doctors, policy-makers, and journalists can better perform their jobs. As a result, everyone benefits, even those who do not themselves read the articles.”

How do I achieve open access?

“There are two ways for an author to make a scholarly article open access. The first, widely known as ‘gold’ open access, is to publish it in a journal that is itself open access—that is, the publisher immediately and permanently makes the journal’s articles freely available online. There are many open access journals—the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists almost 10,000—published by many kinds of entities, including universities, commercial publishers, scholarly societies, and professional organizations.

. . .

Another path to open access is called ‘green’ open access, achieved when an author uploads a work to an open access repository hosted by the author’s institution or a disciplinary repository such as the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Although many authors do not realize it, most journals allow authors to self-archive some version of their article, either the original submission, the edited text, or the journal’s final formatted version. Furthermore, many agencies and institutions have policies that require the researchers they fund or employ to make their articles open access within some fixed amount of time; these policies help make many thousands of articles open access every year. Some publishers reject such policies and lobby against legislation to ensure that taxpayers have access to the research they fund, but their arguments are transparently self-serving and unlikely to prevail in the end.

Right now, green open access is spotty—common and even de rigueur in some fields, but far from universal and not yet leading to reductions in subscription burdens. However, as more researchers and institutions actively support open access, self-archiving will spread. One hope is that green open access will become so prevalent that subscription-based journals will be pressured to lower their subscription prices or change their business model.”

Want to know more?

Read the full column in Contexts or glance at this overview of the very basics of open access. Or contact me or your librarian to learn more!

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Grad Center Faculty Workshop: Why & How to Submit to Academic Works


Graduate Center faculty, did you know that the vast majority of journals allow authors to make their articles (either the pre-refereed version, the post-refereed version, or the publisher-branded PDF) freely available online?  However, the responsibility usually lies with you, the author, to do the online posting, and many journals specify that you can only post in a non-commercial institutional repository (as opposed to sites like

Happily, the Graduate Center now has an institutional repository, Academic Works, ready to accept, store, and preserve your works — journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, data sets, etc.  (Read more about Academic Works.)  And the library is hosting a workshop next week to explain why and how to upload your works:

Faculty Workshop: How to Submit to Academic Works
(Open to GC and CUNY doctoral faculty and research assistants)
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 1-2pm
Graduate Center Library, Room C196.03 (concourse level inside library)

Eventbrite - Faculty Workshop: How to Submit to Academic Works

We’ll cover the reasons why to submit in the workshop, but here’s a preview:

  • Posting your works online helps you find the widest possible readership.  (Most libraries can only afford to subscribe to a fraction of all scholarly journals.)
  • Articles that are freely available online are cited more by other articles – it’s called the “open access advantage” (read about it here).
  • Posting your works in the institutional repository makes them more findable by Google and Google Scholar.
  • Academic Works will send you monthly download statistics so you can see how often your works are being accessed and what searches led people to your works.
  • Unlike many disciplinary repositories, Academic Works accepts any kind of scholarly work – not just articles.
  • If your publisher requires an embargo period before your work can be made open access, Academic Works can count down the embargo for you and automatically open the work up when the embargo expires.
  • Institutional repositories last longer than personal websites (which are generally tied to your employment at CUNY or domain name registration payments)!

The actual act of submitting your work is simple and straightforward, but we’ll cover all the steps in the workshop too.

What about graduate students?  We welcome research assistants to attend this workshop with you or on your behalf.  However, the repository is not yet ready to accept articles, etc. by graduate students themselves.  (We’ll get there soon!)

Can’t make it but want to know more?  Contact Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication,

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Open Access Week @ GC: Authors’ Rights Workshop, 10/21

OAWeekEdit 580

Graphic is adapted from this image, © Dimitar Poposki, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Next week (October 20-26, 2014) is Open Access Week, an annual global event promoting open access as a new norm in scholarship and research. At the Graduate Center, we’re celebrating Open Access Week with a workshop about understanding and preserving your rights as an author:

You Know What You Write, But Do You Know Your Rights?
Understanding and Protecting Your Rights As an Author
Tuesday, October 21st, 1-2pm
Graduate Center Library, Room C196.05 (concourse level inside library)

When you publish a journal article, you sign a copyright agreement. Do you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign it? Different journals have different policies:

  • Some journals require you to relinquish your copyright. (You then have to ask permission or even pay to share your article with students and colleagues!)
  • Some journals allow you to retain some rights (e.g., the right to post online).
  • Some journals leave copyright in your hands. (You simply give the journal a non-exclusive license to publish the article.)

How can you find out a journal’s policy? How can you negotiate your contract to make the most of your rights as a scholar, researcher, and author? Come learn how to preserve your rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work you create.

Led by Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication at the Graduate Center. Open to students, faculty, staff, and anyone from the CUNY community who has questions about their rights as authors, open access publishing, or scholarly communication.

Eventbrite - Introduction to Author's Rights

Can’t make it? Want a preview of what’s covered? See the materials from the previous authors’ rights event.


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Open Access Week 2014 Screening of “The Internet’s Own Boy”

In honor of Open Access Week, the LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable and JustPublics@365 invites you to a screening and discussion of The Internet’s Own Boy.

Friday, October 24, 2014
Borough of Manhattan Community College, Rm N780
Snacks will be served. RSVP not required. Open to all.

This documentary examines the life and contribution of internet and information activist Aaron Swartz. Swartz penned the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto in 2008, two years after he freed the Library of Congress’s bibliographic data by posting it on OpenLibrary (LoC charges for access to this data) and the same year he liberated public court documents from expensive fee-based access through PACER (there are now Chrome and Firefox plugins called RECAP that provide a means for free downloading from the database). Come honor the life of Swartz and discuss ways that his work might be built upon and continued by those of us in the library and higher education communities.

For more information, please contact the co-chairs of the LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable: Jean Amaral ( and Karen Okamoto (

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Archive-It: Graduate Work in Digital Amber

(Déjà vu? This post by Stephen Klein and Polly Thistlethwaite originally appeared on the Graduate Center Library blog.)

Photo is © James St. John, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Photo is © James St. John, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

An increasing number of dissertations and theses at the Graduate Center include born-digital components framing evidence, commentary, and analysis. How do we document and preserve these components, and, maybe someday, even entire graduate works, in digital format?

The Graduate Center Library, the department in charge of CUNY’s dissertation preservation and distribution, has a special contract with Archive-It, a part of the Internet Archive, and cousin to the Wayback MachineWith Archive-It, we take a snapshot of the digital components – websites, files, data, source code – that accompany a thesis published with the GC Library, preserving all elements of the work in digital amber at that meaningful point in time. Eventually, the Internet Archive’s crawlers might get around to capturing the work, if it is not buried too deeply. But the Archive-It subscription allows library staff to direct crawlers’ in-depth attention to capture the work, at a point we determine, and to preserve this record in perpetuity.

Archive-It Amber @ CUNY

Jonathan Maxwell’s MALS project, a visually vibrant web site, was nicely captured by Archive-It. Jonathan’s site functions exactly as  like the ‘live’ site, with the exception of the banner indicating that “you are viewing an archived web page.”

Jonathan Maxwell’s captured and preserved website.

Jonathan Maxwell’s captured and preserved website.

The library also captured David Smey’s supporting files at the day of his dissertation submission. David, a Music graduate,  “illustrated” his dissertation with audio and video examples.

Gregory Donovan, a 2013 Psychology graduate, built a participatory social network to collect and analyze data collected for his dissertation. Internet Archive is not (yet) able to capture Gregory’s site’s full functionality — links to the timeline and the Soundcloud recording don’t work. But now that we can be in conversation with the Internet Archive folks, they are investigating these limitations. We believe web archiving capabilities will improve in the near future.

Prof. Steve Brier, the Graduate Center’s Senior Academic Technology Officer and co-founder of the New Media Lab, supports GC students in combining digital work with academic research. He works with students employing a range of technologies — data visualization, digital audio and video, software development, web-based curating and display, and data mining. Contact Prof. Brier to discuss ideas for digital dissertation components. We all look forward to supporting more file varieties and combinations!

If you have a digital component to your thesis or dissertation, and your deposit date is approaching, the GC Library’s  Dissertations & Theses deposit guide will direct you to this new form to start the Digital Amber flowing.

Photo is © Chris Monk, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Photo is © Chris Monk, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

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