The Canadian HSS Commons: Community over Commercialization

The Canadian Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Commons is an in-development academic social networking site that aims to connect and support the work of Humanities and Social Sciences researchers across Canada. We provide a space to share your work openly and the infrastructure to connect and collaborate with other researchers. The infographic below details our mission, key features, and how we strive to support different academic audiences.


We are not the first site to offer some of these features. Other academic social networks, such as ResearchGate or, have gained popularity in the last decade, but they are oriented towards commercial benefit and collect excessive amounts of data from researchers. Although they provide a medium for sharing publications for free, they do not have the mission nor the infrastructure to preserve them in the long term, so the papers they host today may not be available tomorrow if it is no longer profitable for these corporations.

Unlike these commercial sites, the Canadian HSS Commons takes both the non-profit infrastructure and the digital preservation of research very seriously. The site is developed and maintained by humanities and social sciences scholars for other scholars. We care for the privacy and security of our members, we assign permanent identifiers to the publications in the site, and we believe in the principle of scholarly infrastructure prioritizing community over commercialization, as encouraged by the theme of last year’s Open Access Week. (Of note, our partner, the Humanities Commons, is another such academic-run networking and publishing platform. We’d encourage you to visit to learn more about their community-focused work, too!)

Not only do we prioritize the needs of the academic community, but the Canadian HSS Commons offers features that are unavailable in other social networking sites, such as a bilingual interface or interoperability with other open infrastructure such as ORCID. For the sake of comparison, this chart that shows how the Canadian HSS Commons does the same (and more!) as commercial alternatives. 

If you want to support open research infrastructure, create an account on the Canadian HSS Commons and join a community of humanities and social sciences scholars from Canada and across the world.

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