Saturday, August 28, 2010

Everyone should use SSRN

Since December 2005, I have posted work up on "SSRN" (the Social Science Research Network). My work can be found here. The SSRN allows you to post your papers for free -- and it allows others to download them for free. You can add or remove papers at any time, as well as organize them by subject (law, philosophy, political science, etc.) or issues (ethics, jurisprudence, criminal law, etc.). Plus, the SSRN is not simply about "social science" despite its name, but also consists of work in the humanities.

The benefits of using SSRN are that it becomes very easy for others to find your work. The SSRN is the most accessed "open source" database around. A related benefit is that because your work will be easier to find (and the database is frequently used) it also becomes easier to get helpful comments on your work: I've received helpful advice on probably every paper I've ever posted on it. (There is a final benefit for navel gazers: the database records how often work is downloaded and notes its rank against all other papers all-time or in the past 12 months, as well as ranking authors. The benefit is knowing anyone really did at least download your essay.)

While I know a great many friends and colleagues are on SSRN, I thought it high time to encourage others to use it as well. It has proved an essential resource for me over the years and I think it could be of tremendous use to readers as well. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Matt said...

Let me second Thom's remarks. I'd add that using SSRN is especially useful if you've published something in a more obscure place (a less well known journal, a collection of some sort, conference proceedings) that wouldn't, just on its own, get before the audiences you'd like. Also, if you do work that would appeal to more than one audience, but where the different audiences don't, as a matter of course, look at all the journals in the other field, SSRN can again help you get your work noticed by more people. (It is used extensively by legal scholar and economists, for example, and many other social scientists as well.) Plus, it provides an easy way to make copies of your work available to others. There really is no downside, and it's easy to use.