Social Science Research Network

Last updated
Producer Elsevier
Languages English
CostMostly fee-free (monetarily gratis)
DisciplinesSocial sciences, engineering sciences, humanities, life sciences, applied sciences, health and physical sciences
Record depthIndex, abstract & full-text
Format coveragePapers
Print edition
ISSN 1556-5068

The SSRN, formerly known as Social Science Research Network, is a repository for preprints devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities and more. Elsevier bought SSRN from Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc. in May 2016. [1]



SSRN was founded in 1994 by Michael Jensen and Wayne Marr, both financial economists. [2]

In January 2013, SSRN was ranked the biggest 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), [3] measured by number of PDF files, backlinks and Google Scholar results. [4]

In May 2016, SSRN was bought from Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc. by Elsevier. [1] On 17 May 2016, the SSRN founder and chairman Michael C. Jensen wrote a letter to the SSRN community in which he cited SSRN CEO Gregg Gordon's post on the Elsevier Connect [5] and the "new opportunities" coming from the fusion, [6] such as a broader global network and the freedom "to upload and download papers" (with more data, more resources, as well as new management tools). While predicting "some conflicts" on the interests alignment of the former competitors, he defined them as "surmountable". [7]

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. [8] Gordon characterized the issue as a mistake affecting about 20 papers. [9]


Academic papers in Portable Document Format can be uploaded directly to the SSRN site by authors and are then available around the world via download. Users can also subscribe to abstracting emails covering a broad range of research areas and topic specialties. These distributing emails contain abstracts (with links to the full text where applicable) of papers recently submitted to SSRN in the respective field.

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 that depend on payment for paper copies or online access. [10]

Academic papers in PDF can be uploaded directly to the SSRN site by authors and may then be available for downloading. [11] As of 2019, download by users is generally subject to registration or completion of a ReCAPTCHA challenge and therefore SSRN is not considered by some to be a suitable open access location, [12] unlike open archives like most institutional repositories.

Publishers and institutions can upload papers and charge a fee for readers to download them. [13]

On SSRN, authors and papers are ranked by their number of downloads, which has become an informal indicator of popularity on prepress and open access sites. [14]

See also

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Academic publishing Subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship

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  1. 1 2 Gordon, Gregg (17 May 2016). "SSRN—a leading social science and humanities repository and online community—joins Elsevier". Elsevier Connect. Elsevier. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  2. Feltner, Kerry (2016-06-03). "Dutch company acquires firm in Brighton". Rochester Business Journal. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  3. "World". Ranking Web of Repositories. Cybermetrics Lab. January 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  4. "Methodology". Archived from the original on 2013-07-01.
  5. Elsevier Connect
  6. Gregg Gordon (May 17, 2016). "Photo" [SSRN—the leading social science and humanities repository and online community—joins Elsevier].
  7. Michael C. Jensen (May 17, 2016). "From The Desk of Michael C. Jensen, Chairman". SSRN.
  8. Masnick, Mike. "Just as Open Competitor to Elsevier's SSRN Launches, SSRN Accused Of Copyright Crackdown". Techdirt . Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  9. Straumsheim, Carl. "There Isn't Some Big Conspiracy Happening". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  10. Ashish SIngh (2021-07-21). "Praxis International Journal of Social Science and Literature". Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  12. Richard Orr (2020-12-31). "What counts as an Open Access location?". Unpaywall.
  13. Jensen, Michael C. (2 February 2012). "About SSRN". Social Science Research Network. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  14. Black, Bernard S.; Caron, Paul (2006). "Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance". Indiana Law Journal. 81 (Symposium on The Next Generation of Law School Rankings). SSRN   784764 . U of Texas law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. 52; U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 05-14.