Tools for Improving Distribution, Discussion, and Downloads: An Informed Approach to Submitting Legal Scholarship to SSRN

14 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2022 Last revised: 23 Jun 2023

Date Written: August 16, 2022


Note: This essay was accurate at the time of publication and may no longer reflect the Legal Scholarship Network classifiers' qualifications.

Many legal scholars use online repositories for their pre-published drafts and published work. The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is one of these repositories. SSRN has nearly 70 networks, including the Legal Scholarship Network (LSN) in which legal scholarship is housed, sorted into subject matter eJournals, and available free to download. Beyond uploading papers to make their work available electronically with one click, most legal scholars probably spend little time thinking about how the repositories work.

The benefits of posting scholarship on SSRN include a one-stop web-based place for papers, free downloads, abstract-view and download tracking, data-based email updates, and the capability to reach a large audience through distribution in subject matter eJournals. Criticisms of SSRN include perceived delayed processing of papers and disagreement over SSRN’s determination of “scholarly merit.” Some of the criticisms reveal a lack of understanding about some of the inner workings of SSRN. This essay aims to fill in those gaps to inform faculty how to more effectively use SSRN’s online paper submission form, thus creating opportunities to improve distribution, discussion, and downloads of their scholarship. With an understanding of what the classification process is and how it works, faculty can more effectively engage with the SSRN paper submission process to get faster processing and better classification results.

This essay does three things: first, it describes the classification process; second, it explains how faculty can use four features of the submission process to improve the classification process; and third, in doing these first two things, it sheds light on some of the unwritten rules about the classification process. In total, my goal is to give faculty (and anyone supporting faculty in submitting scholarship to SSRN, e.g., law librarians) a better understanding of SSRN’s classification process. This better understanding can lead to wider distribution in eJournals, more opportunities for discussion, and increased downloads.

Keywords: SSRN, legal scholarship, downloads, distribution, paper submission, abstract, JEL code, classification, eJournals, keywords

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Wherry, Jessica Lynn, Tools for Improving Distribution, Discussion, and Downloads: An Informed Approach to Submitting Legal Scholarship to SSRN (August 16, 2022). Forthcoming, University of Detroit Mercy Law Review, Vol. 100, 2022, Available at SSRN: or

Jessica Lynn Wherry (Contact Author)

Georgetown Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9528 (Phone)


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