Elsevier Buys SSRN.com: What It Means for Scholarly Publication

5 Pages Posted: 6 May 2017

Date Written: July 1, 2016


An open source alternative in law, economics and the social sciences has been the Social Science Research Network, or SSRN (www.ssrn.com). SSRN, a for-profit company, provides a venue for scholars to publish pre-print and other editions of their scholarly works for free, and allows users to similarly access their content for free.

(Disclosure: I am an SSRN “author.” My content can be found at http://ssrn.com/abstract=338251.)

SSRN has more than 2 million registered members with over 670,000 paper abstracts from over 300,000 authors. SSRN earns revenue by selling subscriptions to pre-packaged journals containing current and back-issued articles on different topics or themes. Within law and many other disciplines, it has become a favorite venue for pre-print publication and its download and citation counts are often used as a measure of the value of the scholarship–and at least to some tenure and promotion committees–of the scholar.

In what some are describing as a shocking, but not necessarily unexpected move, in May 2016 Elsevier, the multi-national publishing conglomerate based in the Netherlands, purchased SSRN for an undisclosed price. Compared to recent mergers and consolidations in the publishing industry the scale of the transaction is comparatively small, but the impact could be considerable.

Keywords: Open Access, publishing, SSRN, Elsevier, publication, data analytics

Suggested Citation

Pike, George H., Elsevier Buys SSRN.com: What It Means for Scholarly Publication (July 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2963709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2963709

George H. Pike (Contact Author)

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-0295 (Phone)
312-503-9230 (Fax)

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