Culture Magazine

SSRN Sold to Elsevier

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
SSRN (Social Science Research Network) is a text repository that's been around for over a decade. FWIW I joined up in November of 2009 and have over 90 documents there. It's now been bought out by Elsevier, the giant academic publishing conglomerate. On the one hand, that's neither here nor there; it's just another bit of business.
I mention it, however, in view of recent discussions about, e.g. On Staying With and Open Letter to Rosemary Feal, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and the Modern Language Association (both at Much of that discussion was about whether or not one should entrust one's scholarship to a profit-making enterprise which, however, facilitated getting one's ideas out and across disciplinary boundaries, vs. (anemic) efforts by traditional disciplines (e.g. the MLA Commons). SSRN's Founder and Chairman, Michael C. Jensen, has sent a letter to authors using SSRN in which he assured us that things will be OK:
We realize that this change may create some concerns about the intentions of a legacy publisher acquiring an open-access working paper repository. I shared this concern. But after much discussion about this matter and others in determining if Mendeley and Elsevier would be a good home for SSRN, I am convinced that they would be good stewards of our mission. And our copyright policies are not in conflict -- our policy has always been to host only papers that do not infringe on copyrights. I expect we will have some conflicts as we align our interests, but I believe those will be surmountable.
We shall see.

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