Sharing for social scientists – developments in July 2016: SocArXiv and SSRN changes

SocArXiv, open archive of the social sciences
The first phase of SocArXiv was announced this month: Announcing the development of SocArXiv, an open social science archive The first phase is a site for preprints built on the Open Science Framework. The current site and submission process are labeled temporary. Functions will be added over time but we are told papers will migrate as the site is improved. SocArXiv papers, so far, seem be be found in Google but not yet in Google Scholar. I imagine there will be additional metrics and discussion features in the future also. There has been lots of discussion. Here are some selected posts:

SSRN, purchased by Elsevier in May, has been in the news this month also. Here’s a sampling:

What is a social scientist supposed to do if they want to share preprints, working papers etc.?
There are alternatives to SocArXiv and SSRN and many possible criteria, such as, ease of submission, confidence in permanence and discoverability, likelihood of reaching the right audience from a particular archive. Zenodo was mentioned in several of the posts and comments above. More options. If scholars want to use WU’s Open Scholarship instead of or in addition to SSRN or SocArXiv they should contact their Subject Librarians; Law authors may contact Dorie Bertram, Director Public Services at the Law Library/Lecturer in Law.

Who pays? This story has set me musing about the issue of who pays and who should pay for these important tools. Here’s a quick run down on who pays for sharing preprints at some platforms, as least at far as I can determine today:

  • ArXiv gets support from Cornell University Library, the Simons Foundation and many others, including Washington University Libraries; see arXiv Member Institutions.
  • SocArXiv has support from non-profit Center for Open Science, but the University of Maryland is also seeking donations for SocArXiv.
  • engrXiv is supported like SocArXiv except the the University of Wisconsin-Stout is seeking donations for engrXiv.
  • Elsevier has decided that what they get from SSRN in control, information, and possibly goodwill justifies their expense in purchasing and maintaining it.
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution, runs BioRxiv on the same basis – perhaps you could add “mission” to the list of motivators that I speculated for Elsevier.
  • Wellcome Open Research is a new publishing platform which a funder, Wellcome Trust, is launching soon.
  • There are several platforms where authors pay, for example, F1000 Research, Peer J Preprints, RIO Journal and many others.
  • Figshare gets support from Digital Science and also get fees for some services. Digital Science is owned by the Holtzbrinck Group, which includes Springer-Nature and Macmillan Publishers.
  • Zenodo is built and maintained on EU “soft” money, the OpenAIREplus project; future support is uncertain but CERN has been mentioned.
  • Although it’s not a preprint server, PubMed Central does deliver free-to-read author versions of articles; US taxpayers pay for that.

I will leave who should pay up to you to think and discuss.

About the author

Ruth is a librarian at Washington University for biology, math, history of science; she is also scholarly communications coordinator. Email: Phone: 314-935-4819