|History||1994 to present|
|Cost||fee-free (monetarily gratis)|
|Disciplines||Social sciences and humanities|
|Record depth||Index, abstract & full-text|
The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a website devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities. In January 2013, SSRN was ranked the top open-access repository in the world by Ranking Web of Repositories (an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Spanish National Research Council). In May 2016, SSRN was bought from Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc. by Elsevier.
In July 2016 there were reports of papers being removed from SSRN without notice; revision comments from SSRN indicated this was due to copyright concerns. SSRN CEO Gregg Gordon characterized the issue as a mistake affecting about 20 papers.
In economics, and to some degree in law (especially in the field of law and economics), many papers are now first published as preprints on SSRN and/or other paper distribution networks such as Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) or bepress before being submitted to an academic journal.
SSRN, like other preprint services, circulates publications throughout the scholarly community at an early stage, permitting the author to incorporate comments into the final version of the paper before its publication in a journal. Moreover, even if access to the published paper is restricted, access to the original working paper remains open through SSRN, so long as the author decides to keep the paper up. Often authors take papers down at the request of publishers, particularly if they are published by commercial or university presses which depend on payment for paper copies or on-line access.
Academic papers in PDF format can be uploaded directly to the SSRN site by authors and are then available for worldwide free downloading. Publishers and institutions can upload papers and charge a fee for readers to download them. Users can also subscribe to abstracting email journals covering a broad range of subject matters. These e-journals then periodically distribute emails containing abstracts (with links to the full text where applicable) of papers recently submitted to SSRN in the respective field.
SSRN has mirror sites at the European Corporate Governance Institute (London), Korea University (Seoul), Stanford Law School (California) and University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Illinois).