Friday, 20 May 2016

Goodbye SSRN

SSRN has been sucked into the Death Star of academic publishing, the Dutch company called Elsevier. The story is here. It's obvious what they are about -- making it impossible for people to read versions of papers published in Elsevier journals in a slightly earlier version. If you happen not to be part of the $40 per pdf paying crowd, that was a great alternative; find the same paper's wp on SSRN, and be done. Despite some weasly-worded promises, it's clear that this is what Elsevier wants to stop. After buying Mendeley, a platform for citation management and paper depository, Elsevier is basically trying to capture enough of the knowledge-sharing between academics to stop threats to its hyper-profitable overcharge-for-open-access-or-subscription model.

There is a credible alternative view, espoused here: that it's all about the value of data to Elsevier. I am skeptical... surely a firm like Elsevier could have gotten that kind of data for less?

Be that as it may: For the last 15 years, I uploaded my papers religiously on SSRN. I even had a line below my signature advertising my latest working papers there. It was a great platform to make stuff available. But barriers to entry are L O W. When I have a minute, I will move stuff to REPEC or IDEAS; there will surely be a competitor along that does at least as good a job as SSRN (which was never that great to start with). 

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