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You can post social science papers on the new SocArxiv

I learned about it from this post by Elizabeth Popp Berman.

The temporary SocArxiv site is here. It is connected to the Open Science Framework, which we’ve heard a lot about in discussions of preregistration.

You can post your papers at SocArxiv right away following these easy steps:

Send an email to the following address(es) from the email account you would like used on the OSF:

For Preprints, email socarxiv-Preprint@osf.io
The format of the email should be as follows:

Subject
Preprint Title
Message body
Preprint abstract
Attachment
Your preprint file (e.g., .docx, PDF, etc.)

It’s super-easy, actually much much easier than submitting to Arxiv. I assume that Arxiv has good reasons for its more elaborate submission process, but for now I found SocArxiv’s no-frills approach very pleasant.

I tried it out by sending a few papers, and it worked just fine. I’m already happy because I was able to upload my hilarious satire article with Jonathan Falk. (Here’s the relevant SocArxiv page.) When I tried to post that article on Arxiv last month, they rejected it as follows:

On Jun 16, 2016, at 12:17 PM, arXiv Moderation wrote:

Your submission has been removed. Our volunteer moderators determined that your article does not contain substantive research to merit inclusion within arXiv. Please note that our moderators are not referees and provide no reviews with such decisions. For in-depth reviews of your work you would have to seek feedback from another forum.

Please do not resubmit this paper without contacting arXiv moderation and obtaining a positive response. Resubmission of removed papers may result in the loss of your submission privileges.

For more information on our moderation policies see:

http://arxiv.org/help/moderation

And the followup:

Dear Andrew Gelman,

Our moderators felt that a follow up should be made to point out arXiv only accepts articles that would be refereeable by a conventional publication venue. Submissions that that contain inflammatory or fictitious content or that use highly dramatic and mis-representative titles/abstracts/introductions may be removed. Repeated submissions of inflammatory or highly dramatic content may result in the suspension of submission privileges.

This kind of annoyed me because the only reason my article with Falk would not be refereeable by a conventional publication venue is because of all our jokes. Had we played it straight and pretended we were doing real research, we could’ve had a good shot at Psych Science or PPNAS. So we were, in effect, penalized for our honesty in writing a satire rather than a hoax.

As my couathor put it, the scary thing is how close our silly paper actually is to a publishable article, not how far.

Also, I can’t figure out how Arxiv’s rules were satisfied by this 2015 paper, “It’s a Trap: Emperor Palpatine’s Poison Pill,” which is more fictitious than ours, also includes silly footnotes, etc.

Anyway, I don’t begrudge Arxiv their gatekeeping. Arxiv is great great great, and I’m not at all complaining about their decision not to publish our funny article. Their site, their rules. Indeed, I wonder what will happen if someone decides to bomb SocArxiv with fake papers. At some point, a human will need to enter the loop, no?

For now, though, I think it’s great that there’s a place where everyone can post their social science papers.

11 Comments

  1. Philip Cohen says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this. I’ll have to go read your piece.

    We will consider various models for screening, but first inclination is to err on the side of inclusion. One possibility is to employ user flagging to identify questionable material and have moderators respond to those. And different subgroups or communities may wish to implement different standards. People interested in these issues who want to get involved should contact us.

  2. Dan Riley says:

    arXiv started out just as simple, the gatekeeping grew with scale.

  3. Bob says:

    I am confused. What about SSRN? Isn’t it also “a place where everyone can post their social science papers”?

    Does SocArxiv have some advantage or benefit relative to SSRN? (benefit other than not being affiliated with Elsevier/Mendeley?)

    Bob

    • David J. Harris says:

      SSRN was bought by Elsevier, which many preprint/open access advocates consider ominous.

      A couple of days ago, they apparently deleted a bunch of articles over bogus copyright concerns (link: https://twitter.com/aselbst/status/754036627618484224)

      SSRN apparently denies this, but it’s not clear that their statements are consistent with the facts (https://twitter.com/ProfAmyLanders/status/754359415369859072). Either way, the new management is making authors uncomfortable.

    • epopp says:

      SocArXiv was started by a group of sociologists and librarians. SSRN only covers a subset of social sciences, and has not been interested in adding a sociology network. So sociologists were particularly interested in organizing a preprint server because we are not served by SSRN. But the recent purchase of SSRN by Elsevier — as well as the fact that sociology is not the only social science outside SSRN’s scope — provided motivation to frame the project more broadly, as Elsevier’s track record is not one of encouraging openness.

  4. Dzhaughn says:

    The Trump/Bridge paper lacks finesse. Are political positions driven by our hearts, or by the clubs to which we belong?

  5. Rahul says:

    If you delete the entry barrier entirely you risk being inundated by pure crap. Some curating is good, I think.

  6. Peter Erwin says:

    “Our moderators felt that a follow up should be made to point out arXiv only accepts articles that would be refereeable by a conventional publication venue. Submissions that that contain inflammatory or fictitious content or that use highly dramatic and mis-representative titles/abstracts/introductions may be removed.”

    I think the problem is that you didn’t submit it on March 31. The arXiv is very tolerant of humorous and fictitious articles with April 1 posting dates….

    (Admittedly, the arXiv is pretty opaque about their policies, including moderation or the lack thereof.)

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