Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 11-2014


This article outlines the collaboration between librarians at the Graduate Center Library of the City University of New York (CUNY) and JustPublics@365 (, an initiative designed to open scholarly communication in ways that connect to social justice activism, part of which involved producing an open, online interdisciplinary course with a geographical focus on East Harlem. This Participatory Open Online Course, or POOC, was developed locally without a licensed provider platform or licensed scholarly content. It was designed to be open to CUNY students, to citizens of East Harlem, and to a global public with an interest in social justice. Counter to the trend in most Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the POOC creators wanted assigned readings for the course to be open. Librarians identified open access course material and assisted assigned authors in self-archiving their work in open access contexts according to publishers’ standing policies. In the end, 76 of 117, or about 65%, of the identified course readings were available in open access journals or archived in open repositories either permanently or for the duration of the course. In order for open online courses to deliver high quality education, supporting texts and other works must be open and available to every reader. The success of open online education is fully intertwined with the expansion of open access scholarship.


This work was originally published in Journal of Library Innovation.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.