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:
- Developing SocArXiv — a new open archive of the social sciences to challenge the outdated journal system, by Philip Cohen, on the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog, July 11
- Why you should post your papers to SocArXiv, by Elizabeth Popp Berman, July 13
- SocArXiv debuts, as SSRN acquisition comes under scrutiny, by Richard Poynder, July 19 “…however timely SocArXiv’s launch may be, the service is not a response to the SSRN acquisition, the director of the new service, and professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, Philip Cohen assured me. “We were already in planning before we heard about the SSRN purchase.”
- What Is SocArXiv? by Angela Cochran on The Scholarly Kitchen, July 25
SSRN, purchased by Elsevier in May, has been in the news this month also. Here’s a sampling:
- Tweet from Orin Kerr, July 15 “I’m hearing word that SSRN is now demanding individualized proof of copyright permission to post papers. Are others encountering this?”
- Is it time for authors to leave SSRN? Authors Alliance July 17
- Elsevier has started destroying SSRN, by Mike Taylor on Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week, July 18
- ‘There Isn’t Some Big Conspiracy Happening’, by Carl Straumsheim in Inside Higher Ed, July 19. “A staff error is the reason why several articles were deleted without notice from the Social Science Research Network…”
- Moving from SSRN to SocArXiv ARL [Association of Research Libraries] Policy Notes, July 22
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.