Feinberg Library hosts digital repositories on several platforms:
- Materials representing the intellectual work of the college – faculty and student writing, presentations, and more – are held in a SUNY Plattsburgh community within the SUNY Digital Repository.
- Materials from Special Collections and University Archives are held in a SUNY Plattsburgh community within New York Heritage.
- Digital exhibits developed from faculty and class projects will be built using Omeka.
Until March 28, 2018 these resources were hosted on the proprietary Digital Commons platform. By moving to open-source platforms Feinberg Library saves the college tens of thousands of dollars every year going forward.
Statement on Our Institutional Repository Transition
Feinberg Library is moving its institutional repository to the SUNY DSpace platform. Our Digital Commons repository has been shut down as of March 28, 2018. Special Collections and University Archives materials have already been moved to New York Heritage, while the new DSpace repository will soon be fully populated with the rest of the materials from Digital Commons. This transition will result in substantial savings in a budget crisis, strengthens our partnerships with our fellow SUNY colleges and the SUNY Office of Library Services, and aligns with similar Library and Information Technology Services decisions that promote open-source software, and the adoption of Open Educational Resources. The change of platforms is in line with Feinberg Library’s goals to base its services on best practices, embrace creative solutions, and anticipate and respond to the external forces affecting our services.
Previously our institutional repository has been hosted on the Digital Commons platform. As a third-party service for which we pay an annual fee, by using Digital Commons we have been subject to yearly cost increases in a time of flat or declining budgets for the college and for LITS. We have determined the cost of Digital Commons is no longer sustainable.
SUNY OLIS hosts a SUNY-wide repository using the open-source DSpace software, and makes its use freely available to all SUNY libraries. By switching from Digital Commons to SUNY DSpace we are able to save the college an amount equivalent to the salary of a full-time lecturer each year.
By partnering with OLIS we bring our repository into alignment with our other shared services. We already work with SUNY to lower the costs of our database subscriptions, to share materials via interlibrary loan, and in building a single system-wide library catalog. Bringing our repository under the SUNY umbrella is a logical next step in our shared service practices.
Finally, an open-source, SUNY-wide repository better fits the values of our college and our library. The company that operates Digital Commons, bepress, was recently bought by the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier, for a cost estimated at over $100 million. Feinberg Library began our Digital Commons repository with the goal of making the intellectual work of the college freely and publicly available, embracing the ethic as well as the practice of open access. Similarly, LITS has chosen the open-source Moodle learning management system over the proprietary Blackboard system, saving the college tens of thousands of dollars every year.
Elsevier’s recent actions, through the purchase of Digital Commons, SSRN, Mendeley, and other properties, indicate that the company wants to dominate the academic publishing space by controlling the research process from the lab notebook through final journal publication. Elsevier’s actions are neither consonant with our values nor practical for our pocketbook. SUNY OLIS, in contrast, is dedicated to maintaining an open scholarly publishing infrastructure. Moreover, through its recent funding of OER initiatives at SUNY and CUNY the state of New York has demonstrated its willingness to support the publication and distribution of freely-available academic materials. We are proud to stand with our fellow SUNY institutions and with New York in working towards this future.