SocArXiv policy on withdrawing papers

The Center for Open Science has added withdrawal functionality to its preprint service platform. We are glad to have this capacity, but we will not be permitting the withdrawal of papers in routine cases. Withdrawing is a convenient option if an author makes an error in the submission process, for example accidentally submitting the wrong version; if a paper has not yet been approved, we are happy to accommodate such requests. However, if a paper has already been accepted, and thus entered the scholarly record, we will follow the policy below.

Unfortunately, authors now see a large “Withdraw Paper” button on the page where they edit their paper entries. We are working with COS to change how this option is presented to authors, and also to make users aware of our policy. Posting a paper on SocArXiv is easy, which brings great benefit to the thousands of people who have shared their work. However, authors should be aware that posting papers is generally nonreversible. We offer this policy and its explanation to help further this understanding.

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Photo by Emery Way https://flic.kr/p/5JMYz7

SocArXiv Withdrawal Policy

May 25, 2019

In case of revision, the current version will be found here.

The Center for Open Science (COS), which hosts SocArXiv, has enabled the withdrawal of papers from its paper services. Authors who wish to withdraw their papers may request a withdrawal from the SocArXiv moderators, according to the terms of this policy.

Permission for withdrawal will only be granted in the very rare circumstance in which we have a legal obligation to remove a paper, such as if it contains private personal information or it is subject to a substantiated copyright claim. In cases where a paper is withdrawn, it will be replaced by a “tombstone” page (here is an example), which includes the original paper’s metadata (author, title, abstract, DOI, etc.), and the reason for withdrawal. After that point, the paper will be locked to further modification.

Papers that infringe on copyrights will be removed in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, under the Center for Open Science terms of use, available here.

If authors wish to withdraw papers for other reasons — for example, if they are not confident of the findings or otherwise no longer endorse the paper — they should post a new “version” of the paper that is a single page announcing the withdrawal. They may, for example, request that readers do not further cite, use, or distribute previous versions (which will remain available under the list of previous versions). Instructions on how to post a new version are available here; we are happy to help authors do this.

This policy is very similar to the retraction of an article by an academic journal, which only rarely involves removal of access to the original paper, instead generally relying on a notification of retraction in its place.

Instructions for request a withdrawal are available here: http://help.osf.io/m/preprints/l/1069374-withdrawing-a-preprint

Why doesn’t SocArXiv let authors decide when to withdraw a paper?

Papers on SocArXiv are part of the scholarly record. Upon being posted, they are given a Digital Object Identifier (DOIs), and a persistent URL from COS. The link is automatically tweeted by our announcement account, and the system also generates a citation reference. The document is immediately citable and retrievable by human or machine agents. In short, posting a paper on SocArXiv is a research event that cannot be undone by deleting the document. Preserving the scholarly record is our obligation to the scholarly community.

Authors who post papers on SocArXiv are notified, at the final point of submission, that they will be “unable to delete the preprint file, but [they] can update or modify it.” Authors also are required to confirm that all contributors have agreed to share the paper, and that they have the right to share it. (All co-authors have the same rights to distribute a copyrighted work, unless a subsequent agreement has intervened, so an objection to the posting by a co-author is not the basis for removal.)

The Internet has made it possible to distribute work without relinquishing the original digital file, which makes it possible to delete the version readers access — a privilege that was not available when research was distributed in printed form. However, the Internet has also made it difficult or impossible to remove all traces or copies of a digital document. This is a challenging environment for authors.

We are sympathetic to the desire of some authors to remove copies of their earlier work from circulation, for a variety of reasons, and we appreciate that our policy may cause frustration. We hope authors will carefully consider it before they post their work.

Our policy is very similar to that employed by the older and more established preprint servers, arxiv and bioRxiv.

bioRxiv’s FAQ page reads:

Can I remove an article that has already posted on bioRxiv?

No. Manuscripts posted on bioRxiv receive DOI’s and thus are citable and part of the scientific record. They are indexed by services such as Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic Search, and Crossref, creating a permanent digital presence independent of bioRxiv records. Consequently, bioRxiv’s policy is that papers cannot be removed. Authors may, however, have their article marked as “Withdrawn” if they no longer stand by their findings/conclusions or acknowledge fundamental errors in the article. In these cases, a statement explaining the reason for the withdrawal is posted on the bioRxiv article page to which the DOI defaults; the original article is still accessible via the article history tab. In extremely rare, exceptional cases, papers are removed for legal reasons.

At this writing, just 32 out of 50,401 preprints on bioRxiv have been withdrawn, a rate of 6 per 10,000.

On arXiv, the instructions read:

Articles that have been announced and made public cannot be completely removed. A withdrawal creates a new version of the paper marked as withdrawn. That new version displays the reason for the withdrawal and does not link directly to the full text. Previous versions will still be accessible, including the full text.

On the other hand, at least one paper service, Elsevier’s SSRN (formerly the Social Science Research Network), allows authors to delete their papers from their repository immediately for any reason (FAQ). Similarly, some authors choose to distribute their work on their own websites, where they have more complete control over the contents. We believe these approaches put the needs of the author of over those of the research community. While a reasonable choice in some cases, this represents a philosophy different from ours.

We want an open, equitable, inclusive scholarly ecosystem in which people are free to share and use information as freely as possible. We have created this policy to serve that goal.

With gift from MIT Libraries, SocArXiv offers 2019 SOAR awards

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PNC photo / CC-BY-SA / https://flic.kr/p/PG3njh

With the support of a generous gift from MIT Libraries, SocArXiv is delighted to announce the 2019 Sociology Open Access Recognition awards. With SOAR, people who win paper awards from sections of the American Sociological Association — for papers posted on SocArXiv — will get $250 to help cover their travel to the conference in New York City this summer.

So, if you’ve submitted a paper to be considered for an American Sociological Association section award – including a graduate student award – consider posting it on SocArXiv as well. Any paper that is uploaded by April 15 and wins a 2019 ASA section award will receive a SOAR award of $250 in recognition of your achievement. Support open access, gain recognition, and win money all at the same time!

How it works

You upload your paper to SocArXiv by April 15. Once you find out you’ve won a section award, email socarxiv@gmail.com to notify us. We’ll send you a check for $250 to help cover your travel, as well as publicizing your paper and officially conferring a SOAR award. That’s the whole deal.

Sharing your paper through SocArXiv is a win-win. It’s good for you, because you get the word out about your research. It’s good for social science, because more people have access to ungated information. And now, with SOAR prizes for award-winning papers, it can be good for your wallet, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What happens if I submitted a paper, but don’t notify SocArXiv it’s won a section award?

You will only receive a SOAR award if you let SocArXiv know at socarxiv@gmail.com by August 31, 2019 that your paper has won an ASA section award.

  1. What if I upload my paper after I win the section award?

Any papers uploaded by April 15, 2019 are eligible. We welcome later sharing of papers, but they will not be eligible for SOAR awards.

  1. Does the version submitted to SocArXiv have to be identical with the version submitted to the ASA section?

No. For example, if you upload to SocArXiv a pre-copyediting version of your published paper that you have permission to share, but send the award committee the published version, you are still eligible for the award.

  1. I’d love to upload my paper, but my copyright agreement doesn’t allow me to. What do I do?

First, you may still have the right to upload some version of the paper, even if it is not the final published version. Check your author agreement, or the Sherpa/ROMEO database for the preprint policies of many academic journals. If you really can’t share any version, you are unfortunately not eligible for a SOAR award. But keep in mind for next time that copyright agreements can often be edited or amended. You don’t have to give away all rights to your work.

  1. I am a graduate student submitting a paper for a graduate student section award. Am I still eligible?

Yes. ASA section awards for graduate student papers are also eligible for SOAR.

  1. I am submitting my paper for an award in another disciplinary association. Am I eligible for SOAR?

At present SOAR awards are limited to papers recognized by ASA sections. However, we are always interested in building partnerships with other organizations and disciplines. Please reach out to us at socarxiv@gmail.com if you are interested in developing a similar program for your organization.

SocArXiv welcomes new steering committee members

We are delighted to welcome five new steering committee members:

* Friends of SocArXiv will recognize Brittany Dernberger as our former graduate coordinator, and Kelsey Drotning, who now fills that role. They have both contributed to our administration and decision-making for a while, so this is more a recognition than a new job for them.

The new members join the current founding members:

We extend our gratitude to founding members Neal Caren, Tina Fetner, and Dan Hirschman, who are moving on after almost three years of service. Thank you!

SocArXiv grants seven Sociology Open Access Recognition Awards

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Photo pnc / Flickr CC https://flic.kr/p/2ard8ch

by Kelsey Drotning

This year, in recognition of a commitment to open access publishing and research excellence, SocArXiv granted the Sociology Open Access Recognition (SOAR) award to the authors of seven papers. Each paper was shared on SocArXiv, and then won a section award from the American Sociological Association (ASA). These authors elected to make their important research accessible to researchers, practitioners, legislators, students.

Each paper won a $250 travel prize for attending the 2018 ASA meetings.

We want to thank every scholar who shared a paper on SocArXiv, and encourage all researchers to keep posting papers on SocArXiv. Showcasing award-winning papers on SocArXiv helps us get the word out and motivates others to share their work. We don’t have the money to grant the awards again next year (unless someone makes a donation for this purpose!), but we believe that openly sharing research is good for both the field and for the scholars who participate. The practice produces more interested readers, quicker feedback and citations, and more connections between scholars and those they’re trying to reach. Thank you!

If your ASA section or other scholarly community would like to use SocArXiv as a platform for your award submissions, please contact us; we’re happy to help.

Here are the 2018 SOAR award recipients, with links to the papers:

 

Call for Papers: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences, 2018

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October 18-19, 2018

University of Maryland, College Park

SocArXiv will host the second O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 18 and 19, 2018 at University of Maryland, College Park. The symposium will (a) highlight research that uses the tools and methods of open scholarship; (b) bring together researchers who work on problems of open access, publishing, and open scholarship; and (c) facilitate exchange of ideas on the development of SocArXiv.

The symposium will feature two keynote speakers: Elizabeth Popp Berman, associate professor of sociology at University at Albany, SUNY; and April Hathcock, Scholarly Communications Librarian at New York University.

We invite social science papers or presentations related to the following themes:

  1. Research on any topic that includes open scholarship components. This may entail a demonstration case showing how to do an open scholarship project, providing data and code for results, working with collaborators, or other examples of open scholarship in practice.
  2. Research about open scholarship itself. This may include mechanisms for making data and code public, workflow processes, publication considerations, citation metrics, or the tools and methods of open scholarship.
  3. Research about replication and transparency. This includes both replication studies and research about replication and reproducibility issues.

Submissions are due by June 30, 2018.

Submissions may include papers or other project materials. E-mail presentation information to socarxiv@gmail.com. Include the following information:

  • Names of author(s)/presenter(s) and contact information.
  • For non-paper presentations, include a brief description and rationale explaining how the paper fits within the themes and goals of the O3S Symposium.
  • For paper submissions, upload your paper to SocArXiv and tag it #O3S18.
  • Any AV needs beyond a laptop/projector.
  • Travel stipends of $1,000 will be available to a limited number of presenters. Please indicate whether you would like to be considered for a travel award.

Presenters will be notified of the status of their submission via e-mail.

Visit the conference page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for information and updates. Anyone interested in open scholarship and SocArXiv is welcome to attend O3S. Registration will include a nominal fee. Information will be coming soon!  

O3S is generously sponsored by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Psychology,  and the University Libraries at the University of Maryland.

What Is SocArXiv?

SocArXiv, open archive of the social sciences, is a partner of the nonprofit Center for Open Science (COS) and is housed at the University of Maryland. SocArXiv provides a free and publicly accessible platform for social scientists to upload working papers, pre-prints, published papers, data, and code. SocArXiv is dedicated to opening up social science, to reach more people more effectively, to improve research, and build the future of scholarly communication.  Since the development of SocArXiv was first announced in July 2016, researchers have deposited more than 2,100 papers.

Committee on Publication Ethics offers supportive preprint recommendations

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The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has released a discussion document on preprints. It offers a useful synopsis on the context and rationale for preprints, as well as some common challenges and ethical issues.

I hope journals and publishers will read and follow their guidance here. In particular the ethical notes that:

  • Preprints are generally not considered “publications,” so the papers can be submitted to journals.
  • However, preprints do establish “precedence,” so they should be cited by authors who are aware of them.

COPE doesn’t go so far as to recommend that journals accept preprinted papers, but they urge journals to make their policies explicit:

As the preprint landscape continues to evolve, journals may also wish to raise awareness of preprints among their editorial teams, authors, reviewers, and readers via editorials, webinars, etc. Clear policies in author and reviewer guidelines will not only clarify expectations but also provide a framework for handling submissions consistently.

As we note on our FAQ page, American Sociological Association journal policy allows consideration of papers that have been publicly posted, as long as they are not peer-reviewed:

ASA authors may post working versions of their papers on their personal web sites and non-peer-reviewed repositories. Such postings are not considered by ASA as previous publication.

By our accounting, the top sociology journals all currently allow prepublication archiving of papers.

The COPE advice for authors is also good. In short:

  • Be aware of preprint server and journal policies.
  • Read your copyright agreements.
  • When posting preprints, follow standard ethical practices for research integrity and author attribution.

Our advice goes further, advising researchers to: post papers on SocArXiv or another preprint server, publish in journals that permit distribution of papers before and after publication (we provide DOI linking to facilitate discovery and metrics), use unrestricted licenses to maximize distribution of your work, and link your papers to publicly available research materials (here’s a basic tutorial).

Where SocArXiv is now

We just completed our first O3S conference, and we’re wrapping up our first year of support from the Sloan and Open Societies foundations. So it’s a good time to sum up our progress.

O3S17 networking break
O3S networking break / photo PNC

Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences

More even than we had hoped, the O3S conference turned into a great mechanism for fundraising, outreach, and generating innovating ideas. We had about 20 presenters (many of them junior scholars, whose travel we paid for), and almost 50 registrants. Participants came from as far as Chile, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Toronto, and from the Washington area. They included sociologists, librarians, economists and other scholars, software developers, publishers, and open access advocates. UMD campus leaders and the library were very supportive, and we are optimistic about their continued support for an annual conference. The panels were all high quality, the audience was engaged, the keynotes were riveting, and the workshop was highly productive. In addition to the panels and registrants, a great group of graduate students volunteered to support the conference. (We’ll have more on the workshop and new ideas later.)

SocArXiv service

We have almost 1600 papers on SocArXiv, and October has been our biggest month yet (135 papers). We are small compared with the big disciplinary paper services, but growing more each month, with a widening community of users. Our high visibility launch last fall led to a burst of activity, and now 15 other community preprint services have followed us on the OSF Preprints server. This includes some key players, such as LawArXiv (which we were instrumental in bringing to the OSF system), PsyArXiv (which has developed a relationship with the American Psychological Association), the LIS Scholarship Archive for library science (which is making important connections to libraries), and others. We wouldn’t want to take all the credit for this healthy proliferation, but we should take some. (As an aside, I also note with some pride that nearly all the subsequent communities on OSF Preprints include librarians on their Steering Committees.)

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We are about to start using the OSF’s expanded moderation system, allowing us and the other communities to have a customized paper moderation workflow. This has already turned into a great way for us to recruit volunteers, and generated lively discussion about moderation principles and related governance questions.

At the American Sociological Association meetings this summer, we launched the Sociology Open Award Recognition program, which encourages sections of the ASA to run use SocArXiv for paper award nominations. This led to discussion with more than 10 sections representing thousands of sociologists, several of which adopted variations on our program, with others still considering proposals.

Fundraising

We were able to leverage our foundation grants to help motivate others to contribute to SocArXiv. This includes two gifts of $10,000 from libraries (MIT and UCLA), and about $25,000 from the Sociology Department, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Libraries at the University of Maryland, for our conference (including in-kind contributions). We have also opened up a very promising dialogue with the Red OA group at ARL (which seeks upstream initiatives to strengthen open publishing), which may lead to additional support from libraries, and there are some other leads.

Peer review

Partly motivated by the Red OA initiative, our next project addresses the question of peer review. The Center for Open Science is working to integrate peer review capacity on the OSF Preprints platform (through partnerships and/or their own technology). While that proceeds, we want to figure out what our research community wants and needs most from an open peer review platform. Should we run our own “journals,” work with existing journals, create an open platform for overlay journals, or some other alternative? We have initiated conversations about convening researchers to address these questions, to include also research into peer review processes, which might entail surveys, focus groups, or experimental research. In this effort we are fortunate to have the leadership of Elizabeth Popp Berman, a sociologist on our steering committee who specializes in the sociology of knowledge, and science and technology studies. (Here is a recent essay I wrote on open peer review.)

Needs for the coming year

The peer review project will need funding in the coming year, for convening meetings and conducting research. Our other fundraising goals center on personnel and outreach. We’d like support for our research efforts, my time, and graduate assistants to handle paper moderation and research for the peer review project. And then we will need money for outreach (travel, marketing, materials), and the next O3S conference (especially travel for junior scholars). We are also in discussions with the Center for Open Science on a sustainability model for all the preprint services they host; while their service to us is free, we would like to develop a long-term plan by which the communities work together to secure the future of the system. This is an ongoing conversation.