The City University of New York (CUNY) announced on November 22, 2011, that they had received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for a new open source project, “The Commons in a Box.”
The CUNY Academic Commons has been one of the leading examples of using WordPress, BuddyPress, and MediaWiki for academic social networks. This new initiative will make it easier for other organizations to set up similar sites without having to install and configure all the components from scratch.
From the announcement:
Built on the popular open-source platforms WordPress, BuddyPress, and MediaWiki, the [CUNY Academic Commons] network has cultivated a strong sense of community among its members by providing public and private spaces in which they can connect to one another and share their academic and administrative work…
In contrast to projects that seek to build online communities through the kinds of proprietary and commercial social-networking platforms that routinely mine user content for advertising and other purposes, the Commons in a Box software will provide a framework for networks that are controlled by institutions and their members, and it will foreground the principles of open access, user privacy, and non-commercial sharing of intellectual work.
Educational groups, scholarly associations, and other non-profit organizations will be able to leverage the Commons in a Box to give their members a space in which to present themselves as scholars to the public, to share their work, to locate and communicate with peers, and to engage in collaborative scholarship.
More information on the Commons in a Box coming shortly…