In 1994 an electronic network of easily searchable abstracts of social science research papers (with accompanying downloadable, full-text documents) was created through a collaboration between the faculties of Stanford and Columbia Universities to serve the needs of the worldwide academic community. Known as the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), it eventually added Internet-accessible sub-networks including the Legal Scholarship Network.
Subscribing to SSRN to Receive Weekly Research Papers of Interest; Searching in SSRN
If a faculty member wants to receive weekly e-mail abstracts of SSRN articles under "selected subject headings" or from a “particular law school series," an annual SSRN subscription is required. Currently the Columbus School of Law has such a blanket subscription, and many faculty members have signed up to receive e-mail updates. A typical "e-journal," as they are called, includes both an abstract and a full-text downloadable document. If you would like to subscribe please contact Beth Edinger.
Faculty members also can search the SSRN database to locate articles on subjects of interest. The standard search page is easy to use for finding both topical materials and articles authored by particular scholars.
Submitting Articles to SSRN; Linking to Law School Web Page
The SSRN database includes abstracts and the full-text of faculty papers. A faculty member of any law school can upload for free an article in progress, completed or already published (with copyright clearance) to the service. In addition, a law school may create its own branded web page at the SSRN site in order to provide a link to all of its faculty research work under one banner. The Columbus School of Law has such a web page, which is designated as the The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series. Through this Research Paper Series faculty wishing to gain more exposure for their scholarship can have their articles, reviews, conference papers, etc. uploaded and disseminated to a wide audience.
Major Benefits of Submitting Articles to SSRN
There are a number of benefits to faculty who post papers on SSRN:
- Electronic abstracts of your papers are sent out on the regular SSRN e-journals’ listservs and are received by hundreds of scholars;
- Papers are indexed in the permanent SSRN database, making them available to legal scholars with similar interests;
- Papers become searchable through regular search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.), bringing you and the Columbus School of Law a larger audience;
- Posting helps the law school build a bigger web presence among scholars using SSRN;
- The law school can develop its own listserv to publicize faculty scholarship to faculty, alumni, colleagues of bench, etc.
What Must I do?
In order for you to participate in the SSRN electronic publishing system you must:
- Hold or obtain copyright clearance to upload a published article, conference paper, etc.;
- Have created an accompanying abstract;
- Have an electronic copy of the article, or a good scan of the printed article (please note that you cannot download articles from Westlaw, Lexis or Hein Online);
- Contact Library Director Beth Edinger when you are ready for the paper to be uploaded.
Electronic copies of the abstract and the full-text article can then be sent to Professor Edinger who will upload the materials into the SSRN repository. In the process of uploading the document, a CUA cover sheet with the University seal, a serial number for the research series and date will be attached to the document. When three or more faculty articles are uploaded, SSRN staff will send them out by e-mail to all subscribers interested in receiving either the law school's series or the topical e-journal to which the articles were assigned.
A Word about SSRN Statistics
In the process of collecting and downloading faculty research materials by end users, SSRN generates a number of useful statistics based on several categories that include: 1) the number of times an author's paper has been downloaded; 2) the number of times all the authors papers have been downloaded; and 3) the number of times all papers from a particular institution have been downloaded. The law school also receives an institutional rank based on the number of papers uploaded, downloaded, and the like. Sorting from highest to lowest number of downloads within the law school's institutional repository is also possible.