The SSRN, formerly known as Social Science Research Network, is a repository and international journal devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities and more. Elsevier bought SSRN from Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc. in May 2016.
In January 2013, SSRN was ranked the biggest open-access repository in the world by Ranking Web of Repositories (an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Spanish National Research Council), measured by number of PDF files, backlinks and Google Scholar results.
In July 2016 there were reports of papers being removed from SSRN without notice; revision comments from SSRN indicated this was due to copyright concerns. SSRN CEO Gregg Gordon characterized the issue as a mistake affecting about 20 papers.
Starting in 2017, SSRN has been adding new disciplines in areas such as biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine, computer science and more.
Academic papers in PDF format can be uploaded directly to the SSRN site by authors and are then available around the world via download. Users can also subscribe to abstracting emails covering a broad range of research areas and topic specialties. These distributing emails contain abstracts (with links to the full text where applicable) of papers recently submitted to SSRN in the respective field.
SSRN, like other preprint services, circulates publications throughout the scholarly community at an early stage, permitting the author to incorporate comments into the final version of the paper before its publication in a journal. Moreover, even if access to the published paper is restricted, access to the original working paper remains open through SSRN, so long as the author decides to keep the paper up. Often authors take papers down at the request of publishers, particularly if they are published by commercial or university presses that depend on payment for paper copies or online access.
Academic papers in PDF format can be uploaded directly to the SSRN site by authors and may then be available for downloading. As of 2019, download by users is generally subject to registration or completion of a ReCAPTCHA challenge.
Publishers and institutions can upload papers and charge a fee for readers to download them. Users can also subscribe to abstracting email journals covering a broad range of subject matters. These e-journals then periodically distribute emails containing abstracts (with links to the full text where applicable) of papers recently submitted to SSRN in the respective field.