Get Free Private Github Repositories Through GitHub Education

We’ve written a fair amount about GitHub here at ProfHacker. To cite just a few examples, Lincoln described how to fork syllabi using GitHub, George outlined how to preserve your Twitter archive using GitHub Pages, and Konrad wrote a long series introducing the basics of GitHub in detail.

I resisted GitHub for a long time, against the advice of my fellow Profs. Hacker and other colleagues, but recently have moved toward using it to store code related to my teaching and my research, as well to host sites for classes and research projects. In the coming weeks I plan to write tutorials outlining precisely how I’ve been building class and project pages using RStudio or Jekyll paired with GitHub Pages, but first I wanted to recall those previous posts so that interested readers can set up their own GitHub accounts, which they will need to follow those tutorials.

In the meantime, however, I wanted to share exciting news I learned only very recently from a colleague. In his Getting Started with GitHub post, Konrad noted,

GitHub accounts are free, and remain so as long as you allow your repositories be open source and available to the world. You only have to get a paid account if you wish to have private repositories protected from prying eyes.

This is generally true, but sometimes academics might want a private repository: for a class website in progress, perhaps, or for other materials—such as, in my case, a promotion dossier in progress—that would benefit from GitHub’s versioning but cannot be made publicly available.

Fortunately, however—and this is what I did not realize until just months ago—GitHub offers free individual and team accounts through their GitHub Education program. Students 13 years and older can apply for the Student Developer Pack, which gives access to specialized tools and unlimited private repositories. Educators and/or researchers can apply for a free individual Developer plan, which also offers unlimited private repositories, as well as for free Team plans for academic groups, such as a classroom or a research project team.

The process is simple. Visit the GitHub Education page, click request a discount, log into your account, and fill out the form. You should use your institutional email account, if you have one, and you may have to upload a document demonstrating your affiliation. From there the GitHub Education team has to approve your request, which in my case took only a few hours.

I don’t have a huge need for private repositories, but it is nice to have the option, and has allowed me to benefit from GitHub on a few projects I wouldn’t have felt comfortable putting on GitHub otherwise. If you’re reading ProfHacker, there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for a free educational account as well.

Are you using GitHub for teaching and/or research, and if so did you know about GitHub Education? Tell us about how you’re using GitHub in the comments.

Peter Suber, Half a dozen reasons why I support the Jussieu Call for Open Science and Bibl…

“1. I support its call to move beyond PDFs. This is necessary to bypass publisher locks and facilitate reuse, text mining, access by the visually impaired, and access in bandwidth-poor parts of the world. 

2. I applaud its recognition of no-fee or no-APC open-access journals, their existence, their value, and the fact that a significant number of authors will always depend on them. 

3. I join its call for redirecting funds now spent on subscription journals to support OA alternatives. 

4. I endorse its call to reform methods of research evaluation. If we want to assess quality, we must stop assuming that impact and prestige are good proxies for quality. If we want to assess impact, we must stop using metrics that measure it badly and create perverse incentives to put prestige ahead of both quality and access.

5. I support its call for infrastructures that are proof against privatization. No matter how good proprietary and closed-source platforms may initially be, they are subject to acquisition and harmful mutation beyond the control of the non-profit academic world. Even without acquisition, their commitment to OA is contingent on the market, and they carry a permanent risk of trapping rather than liberating knowledge. The research community cannot afford to entrust its research to platforms carrying that risk. 

6. Finally I support what it terms bibliodiversity. While we must steer clear of closed-source infrastructure, subject to privatization and enclosure, we must also steer clear of platform monocultures, subject to rigidity, stagnation, and breakage. Again, no matter how good a monoculture platform may initially be, in the long run it cannot be better than an ecosystem of free and open-source, interoperable components, compliant with open standards, offering robustness, modularity, flexibility, freedom to create better modules without rewriting the whole system, freedom to pick modules that best meet local needs, and freedom to scale up to meet global needs without first overcoming centralized constraints or unresponsive decision-makers. …”

The New Model for Scientific Publishing – ECS

“As one of the last independent, nonprofit scientific publishers completely governed by scientists, The Electrochemical Society has developed a business-model changing initiative called Free the Science that will make our research freely available to all readers, while remaining free for authors to publish….In its transition period, ECS remains committed to keeping APCs as low as possible….Free the Science seeks to remove all fees associated with publishing….”

If funders and libraries subscribed to open access: The case of eLife, PLOS, and BioOne [PeerJ Preprints]

“Following on recent initiatives in which funders and libraries directly fund open access publishing, this study works out the economics of systematically applying this approach to three biomedical and biology publishing entities by determining the publishing costs for the funders that sponsored the research, while assigning the costs for unsponsored articles to the libraries. The study draws its data from the non-profit biomedical publishers eLife and PLOS, and the nonprofit journal aggregator BioOne, with this sample representing a mix of publishing revenue models, including funder sponsorship, article processing charges (APC), and subscription fees. This funder-library open access subscription model is proposed as an alternative to both the closed-subscription model, which funders and libraries no longer favor, and the APC open access model, which has limited scalability across scholarly publishing domains. Utilizing PubMed filtering and manual-sampling strategies, as well as publicly available publisher revenue data, the study demonstrates that in 2015, 86 percent of the articles in eLife and PLOS acknowledged funder support, as did 76 percent of the articles in the largely subscription journals of BioOne. Twelve percent of the articles identified the NIH as a funder, 8 percent identifies other U.S. government agencies. Approximately half of the articles were funded by non-U.S. government agencies, including 1 percent by Wellcome Trust and 0.5 percent by Howard Hughes Medical Institute. For 17 percent of the articles, which lacked a funder, the study demonstrates how a collection of research libraries, similar to the one currently subscribing to BioOne, could cover publishing costs. The goal of the study is to inform stakeholder considerations of open access models that can work across the disciplines by (a) providing a cost breakdown for direct funder and library support for open access publishing; (b) positing the use of publishing data-management organizations (such as Crossref and ORCID) to facilitate per article open access support; and (c) proposing ways in which such a model offers a more efficient, equitable, and scalable approach to open access than the prevailing APC model, which originated with biomedical publishing.”

A journal is a club: A new economic model for scholarly publishing | hc:16143 | Humanities CORE

“A new economic model for analysis of scholarly publishing—journal publishing in particular—is proposed that draws on club theory. The standard approach builds on market failure in the private production (by research scholars) of a public good (new scholarly knowledge). In that model publishing is communication, as the dissemination of information. But a club model views publishing differently: namely as group formation, where members form groups in order to confer externalities on each other, subject to congestion. A journal is a self-constituted group, endeavouring to create new knowledge. In this sense ‘a journal is a club’. The knowledge club model of a journal seeks to balance the positive externalities due to a shared resource (readers, citations, referees) against negative externalities due to crowding (decreased prospect of publishing in that journal). A new economic model of a journal as a ‘knowledge club’ is elaborated. We suggest some consequences for the management of journals and financial models that might be developed to support them.”

Research Libraries Powering Sustainable Knowledge in the Digital Age: LIBER Europe Strategy 2018-2022

“The 2018-2022 LIBER Strategy, which will steer LIBER’s development over the next five years, will support LIBER libraries in facing coming changes in the European working environment such as the various initiatives in advancing Open Science. It will also enable research in LIBER organisations to be world class. The leading role of LIBER brings added value to the implementation of the Strategy at a European level. …The term Open Science is not mentioned specifically in the Strategy. Instead, we emphasise innovative scholarly communication and digital skills and services, as well as research infrastructures to enable sustainable knowledge in the digital age…. Our Vision for the research landscape in 2022 is that the role of research libraries will lie in Powering Sustainable Knowledge in the Digital Age:

• Open Access is the predominant form of publishing;

• Research Data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR);

• Digital Skills underpin a more open and transparent research life cycle;

• Research Infrastructure is participatory, tailored and scaled to the needs of the diverse disciplines;

• The cultural heritage of tomorrow is built on today’s digital information….

Open Access of Research Publications: this theme will encompass developing innovative services on top of the repository network, developments regarding Open Access business models for journals and the role of libraries therein, and the possibilities for libraries as Open Access publishers and innovative publishing…Semantic Interoperability; Open and Linked Data: research libraries are experts in metadata and ontologies and need to take a leadership role and engage with other stakeholders to ensure interoperability and accessibility of content….”

How the Guardian found 800,000 paying readers | The Drum

“The paper has also slightly increased – to 200,000 – its subscriber base for its print and digital products. And in a development which has even surprised senior Guardian executives, a further 300,000 individuals have made single donations to the paper, which has been posting appeals at the end of articles, urging readers to financially support its commitment to open access journalism….”

Be Bold, Go for Gold! | PLOS Biologue

“From the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) meeting in 2002 to the present day, Open Access has come a long way, and this week we celebrate the 10th annual Open Access Week! This year’s focus spearheaded by SPARC is around “Open in order to…“ with the goal of highlighting the benefits of Open Access. PLOS has published another post on our efforts for Open Access Week, and so here it seems a good time to consider the nuances of the various flavours (colours) of Open Access available to researchers today and what they are Open in order to achieve.”