Social Science Research Network

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History1994 to present
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

The SSRN, formerly known as Social Science Research Network, is a repository for preprints and international journal 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]

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.[5] SSRN CEO Gregg Gordon characterized the issue as a mistake affecting about 20 papers.[6]

Starting in 2017, SSRN has been adding new disciplines in areas such as biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine, computer science and more.

In 2020, the Cowles Foundation terminated its financial relationship with SSRN, saying that the service had deteriorated and RePEc was a better alternative to host its working papers.


Academic papers in PDF 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.

Academic papers in PDF format can be uploaded directly to the SSRN site by authors and may then be available for downloading.[7] As of 2019, download by users is generally subject to registration or completion of a ReCAPTCHA challenge.

Publishers and institutions can upload papers and charge a fee for readers to download them.[8] 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.

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.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "SSRN — a leading social science and humanities repository and online community — joins 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. ^ Masnick, Mike. "Just As Open Competitor To Elsevier's SSRN Launches, SSRN Accused Of Copyright Crackdown". Techdirt. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  6. ^ Straumsheim, Carl. "There Isn't Some Big Conspiracy Happening". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Jensen, Michael C. (2 February 2012). "About SSRN". Social Science Research Network. Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  9. ^ 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.

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