ABOUT SSRN: From The Desk of Michael C. Jensen, Chairman
SSRN's History and Structure
SSRN (the Social Science Research Network) was formally incorporated 17 years ago in October, 1994. It originated in 1992 as FEN (Financial Economics Network), the brainchild of Wayne Marr. Our vision was (and still is) to enable scholars to share and distribute their research worldwide, long before their papers work their way through the multi-year journal refereeing and publication process. We vowed to do so at the lowest cost possible for authors and readers.
Since 1992 over 179,000 authors have uploaded more than 381,000 papers and abstracts to SSRN's eLibrary. And our readers have downloaded over 50 million full text documents (currently running at more than 8.5 million downloads per year).
We founded SSRN as a corporate entity because we believed it to be the most efficient form. SSRN is a collaborative of over 1,000 scholars worldwide who contribute their services as Advisory Editors, Editors and Network Directors. SSRN does not take government grants or other subsidies, nor do we take capital from outside investors, eliminating a potential source of conflict with our authors and users. We are committed to doing our best to ensure SSRN never abandons its commitment to scholars and their readers, including ensuring that SSRN is not sold to a party that would abandon this commitment.
SSRN's objective is to provide worldwide distribution of research to authors and their readers and to facilitate communication among them at the lowest possible cost. In pursuit of this objective, we encourage authors to upload their papers to SSRN (without charge). And any paper an author uploads to SSRN is downloadable for free, worldwide. We allow publishers and other institutions to charge users for downloading papers they have uploaded to SSRN while encouraging them to charge fees that are as low as possible. Our rule is that the price for such papers on SSRN must be equal to or below the lowest price that such papers are available anywhere on the web to non-subscribers. The vast majority of papers in the SSRN eLibrary are downloadable at no charge. In addition, SSRN provides free subscriptions to all of our abstracting eJournals to users in developing countries on request.
SSRN earns revenue to cover its considerable expenses from the more than 400 institutions that outsource the distribution of their research papers to SSRN through SSRN's Research Paper Series, subscription fees for SSRN's subject matter abstracting eJournals, fees received for professional and job announcements, conference fees for SSRN's Conference Management System, and lastly from fees shared with SSRN by publishers who distribute their papers through SSRN on a pay-per-download basis.
SSRN reinvests all of the cash it receives after expenses, debt service and dividends, to enhance our services to authors and users. We spend in excess of $1,000,000 per year on system development and user support.
SSRN's COMMITMENTS TO USERS
SSRN is committed to providing authors and readers with the highest quality, most reliable services in the distribution of research. The 179,000 authors who have contributed their research to SSRN have trusted us with their intellectual output. We are committed to fulfilling that trust. We are scholars, and we respect, above all, our authors' rights in their material.
SSRN does not take copyright on any paper posted to SSRN. SSRN takes only a non-exclusive, revocable license (revocable at any time by the author or copyright holder) to distribute an author's work. We have never, and will never, behave opportunistically with our authors' material. That is our word and you can count on SSRN and each of us that help SSRN perform on its commitments to honor that word.
SSRN is continuing to expand and improve our services in many ways. The most recent new features are announced on the SSRN home page: http://www.ssrn.com
We have dramatically increased the breadth and depth of SSRN's research networks in recent years, having added 16 new research networks to our four founding networks (Financial Economics Network, Legal Scholarship Network, Economics Research Network, and the Accounting Research Network):
We have (at considerable expense) cooperated with Google and Microsoft's request to allow them to index SSRN's content so Google and Microsoft now provide additional windows into the SSRN eLibrary. We will continue to work with Google, Google Scholar, Microsoft and Bing to provide the best services possible for SSRN authors and readers.
We are grateful to the following institutions that provide mirror paper repositories for SSRN around the world:
· European Corporate Governance Institute (London)
· Korea University (Seoul)
· Stanford Law School (California)
· University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Illinois)
These paper repositories increase our response capacity and also serve as multiple backups to ensure that SSRN never loses its database of papers.
I invite all users of SSRN's services to write me at any time (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know what you like about our services and how they can be improved. Our users are a constant source of inspiration for our creativity and evolution. We invite you to join us in creating a new model for distributing research, to narrow the distance between authors, co-authors, institutional sponsors, and users and readers throughout the world. These are rapidly changing times in scholarly research and we are committed to creating a resource with the highest integrity, reliability, and functionality for disseminating research in the social sciences, worldwide and to do it now.
Finally I am pleased to note that SSRN has been recognized in July, 2011 for the third time as the Number 1 Open Source Repository in the world (out of 1,222 such repositories) repeating our Number 1 rankings in January, 2010 and January 2011, by Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC). You can view the rankings at: http://repositories.webometrics.info/en/world
Michael C. Jensen
Chairman, Integrity Officer
Social Science Research Network
February 2, 2012