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.


“While such [OA] policy directives are essential to advancing open access, so too is an infrastructure that can support a publishing landscape steadily migrating to a state where “Open” is the default.

Many key services that now comprise the existing infrastructure, which has evolved over time, are non-commercial and far from financially secure. Some could even be described as “at risk”.

Being that many of these services are now fundamental to implementing Open Access and Open Science policies and supporting these workflows, securing them has become a growing concern of the broader OA and OS community.

The formation of the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) represents a community-led effort to help maintain, and ultimately secure, vital infrastructure….

The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) is a network of influential organisations committed to helping secure OA and OS infrastructure well into the future. Officially formed in early 2017, SCOSS’ purpose is to provide a new co-ordinated cost-sharing framework that will ultimately enable the broader OA and OS community to support the non-commercial services on which it depends.

SCOSS will function primarily to help identify and track, via a registry, non-commercial services essential to Open Science, and to make qualified recommendations on which of these services should be considered for funding support….”

Chance discovery of forgotten 1960s ‘preprint’ experiment

“For years, scientists have complained that it can take months or even years for a scientific discovery to be published, because of the slowness of peer review. To cut through this problem, researchers in physics and mathematics have long used “preprints” – preliminary versions of their scientific findings published on internet servers for anyone to read. In 2013, similar services were launched for biology, and many scientists now use them. This is traditionally viewed as an example of biology finally catching up with physics, but following a chance discovery in the archives of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Matthew Cobb, a scientist and historian at the University of Manchester, has unearthed a long-forgotten experiment in biology preprints that took place in the 1960s, and has written about them in a study publishing 16 November in the open access journal PLOS Biology.”

Project Manager for the European OpenAIRE-Advance project (E 14 TV-L)

“Responsibilities are as follows:

Manage the communication and dissemination work package, working closely with all areas and coordinators of the project

Contribute to strategic planning of the network, manage networking tasks and establish coordination activities, ensuring successful support for the implementation of open science policies

Oversight of topical scholarly communication task groups to increase capacity and knowledge among the network, including training and advocacy programmes

Help to develop and implement the OpenAIRE legal entity and open science partnerships, including oversight of liaison with the European Open Science Cloud

Coordination and communication of scholarly communication tasks, including developing technical interoperability guidelines for repositories and publishing platforms and OA monitoring through the Institutional Dashboard”

The Magic That Happens When Designers Get Open Access to Art – Shapeways Magazine

“Earlier this year we announced a unique design partnership with the National Gallery of Denmark (known to those in the know as the SMK). The SMK is a leader in the OpenGLAM (Open Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) movement and has made a huge amount of its art collection — pieces old enough to be in the public domain — available to the public without copyright restrictions. We partnered with the SMK to invite the Shapeways design community to create new pieces of jewelry based on six artworks selected by SMK curators. One winner and four runners up would be featured in the SMK itself, and other entries would be featured in SMK’s online shop.”

The original preprint system was scientists sharing photocopies

“The movement to make biology papers freely available before they have been peer-reviewed, let alone published in a reputable journal, finally succeeded in 2013, when bioRxiv (pronounced bio-archive) was launched by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. But 50 years before, the National Institutes of Health tried something similar: distributing unpublished scientific papers, or preprints, to a handpicked group of leading researchers.”

Need a paper? Get a plug-in

“Increasingly, however, scientists are turning to tools such as Unpaywall, Open Access Button, Lazy Scholar and Kopernio. These tools all do more or less the same thing: tap into an overlapping set of data sources to identify and retrieve open-access copies of research papers that are inaccessible or hard to find through other routes.”