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May 21, 2019


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James Grimmelmann

Apparently, SSRN doesn't consider every paper published in the Green Bag to be a "full
scholarly research paper[]." I received a similar email about my essay Renvoi and the Barber. It may not be a long paper (16 pages), but I certainly sweated every word and it makes, in my opinion at least, an original contribution to legal theory. I opened a support ticket a week ago to inquire on what basis SSRN thinks that it is not scholarship, but I have received no reply.

If it is any consolation, being placed in SSRN's "Other Papers" section seems more insult than injury. As long as you check the box to make them publicly available, the only material drawback is that Other Papers don't show up in SSRN search results. But who uses SSRN's own poor excuse for a search engine? Everyone I know either uses Google or browses papers by author.

Regular readers of blog comment sections will know that I agree fully with your critique of SSRN. I strongly recommend self-archiving, law-school hosting of faculty publications, and open alternatives like LawArXiv.


I didn't know SSRN was moderated this way. Do you *prefer* to use a repository which has some kind of moderation, or would you rather be on an unmoderated repository? There are a few unmoderated repositories like Zenodo, where discoverability and selectivity is delegated to "communities" (sort of sub-repositories). Otherwise, as people have pointed out, the arXiv model works for the humanities as well, with SocArXiv, LawArXiv etc.

Peter Hook

Thank you James Grimmelmann for mentioning LawArXiv in the comment above. LawArXiv is the only the only non-profit, community owned and managed legal scholarship repository. We have a much more expansive conception of scholarship!

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