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Creating New Academic Networks With ‘Commons in a Box’

The City University of New York’s CUNY Academic Commons announced today that it is developing “Commons in a Box,” an open-source software project to help other institutions and groups set up online spaces for their members. “Educational groups, scholarly associations, and other nonprofit organizations will be able to leverage the Commons in a Box to give their members a space in which to present themselves as scholars to the public, to share their work, to locate and communicate with peers, and to engage in collaborative scholarship,” according to an announcement on the Academic Commons News blog.

It also said that CUNY Academic Commons will work with the Modern Language Association on a pilot project to create an “MLA Commons” for its more than 30,000 members. The association has been exploring new ways to help promote members’ activities, establishing an office of scholarly communication earlier this year. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is supporting the Commons in a Box work with a $107,500 grant.

CUNY Academic Commons dates back to 2009, when it was created to provide an academic social network that would connect faculty members, students, and staff across CUNY’s campuses. “Built on the popular open-source platforms WordPress, BuddyPress, and MediaWiki, the network has cultivated a strong sense of community among its members by providing public and private spaces in which they can connect to one another and share their academic and administrative work,” the announcement said.

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