Academic Commons Adds 20,000th Item to Its Collection

“Academic Commons was established to provide free, global access to and digitally preserve the research and scholarly work of the Columbia community,” said Mark Newton, Director of CDRS. “The Libraries built Academic Commons to support the needs of Columbia scholars for long-term, persistent, open access to their works.”

Launched in 2006, Academic Commons facilitates the discovery and preservation of Columbia scholars’ work on a global scale, increasing the impact of their research. Since its initial development, the repository has been updated consistently to add and improve many essential functions and to host a wide variety of content, including datasets, dissertations, monographs, technical reports, theses, and videos.

“Academic Commons provides a mechanism for global access to all types of research outputs, not only formally-published journal articles and book chapters,” said Newton. “We’ve been able to expand the scope of materials we’re looking to collect and provide access to. For example, research data sharing is an increasingly important area of program activity in open repositories and we’re working to connect the Columbia community with essential resources to achieve this through Academic Commons.”

Last week, Academic Commons marked 20,000 individual items in its collection, a milestone achievement for the CDRS team, who work to generate awareness of and participation in the repository, among other projects. The 20,000th item was submitted by a faculty research group from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), part of the Earth Institute: the latest version of a tool developed for climate modeling. As with the previous 19,999 deposits, the Climate Predicatability Tool will be published with a DOI to encourage proper citation; will be indexed for maximum discoverability on the Web; and will generate monthly reports on its usage for its creators.

"Academic Commons has enabled us to distribute citable versions of all our work including software products, for example, which would otherwise not have a standard citable reference in the way that a publication does,” said Simon J. Mason, Senior Research Scientist with IRI and co-author of the Climate Predictability Tool. “It also helps us track how much the software is being accessed, which can help us in reporting on the impact of our work."

The Libraries are currently preparing for a large-scale upgrade to Academic Commons that will further improve users’ experience on the platform and connect Columbia-based research with readers and users around the world, without need for log-in or a subscription.

“We’re keying development directly to feedback we get from users and trying to iteratively advance Academic Commons in ways that support all of the diverse disciplinary communities at Columbia,” said Newton.

To learn more about Academic Commons or to deposit your work, visit

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: