Save the date: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences, October 26-27

SocArXiv will host the inaugural O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 26 and 27 at University of Maryland.


October 26-27, 2017
University of Maryland, College Park

SocArXiv will host the inaugural O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 26 and 27, 2017 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: Tressie McMillan Cottom, sociology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Jeffrey Spies, co-founder and chief technology officer at the Center for Open Science. Participants will also participate in panels and a workshop session on the future challenges and next steps for SocArXiv.

The O3S symposium will take place during Open Access Week, a global event raising awareness about the benefits of open access and inspiring wider participation in making open access a new norm in scholarship and research.

Check the symposium website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for information and updates. The Call for Papers announcement and registration information will be coming soon!

The O3S symposium is generously sponsored by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Department of Sociology, the University Libraries at the University of Maryland, the Sloan Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. 

New site up: Here are our most downloaded papers


Thanks to the heroic efforts of our partners at the Center for Open Science, we’re delighted that the beta version of SocArXiv is up, running, and ready to use. Over the last four months, more than 600 papers were deposited, mostly through our temporary drop service, and downloaded over 10,000 times.

Now SocArXiv is directly integrated into the Open Science Framework Preprints service, along with other new open access depositories, like bioRxiv, engrXiv, and PsyArXiv. Visit the site, where you can search, browse, and upload your own papers.

In the weeks and months to come, we’ll be expanding our scope and debuting new features. But to give you a taste of what we’ve got and what’s to come, we’re highlighting some selected research, starting with the five most downloaded papers.

  1. Gender Mistakes and Inequality, by Chris Bourg. This sociology dissertation uses an experimental design to show how people who misidentify the gender of another person, then after interacting, realize their mistake, are subsequently less likely to use sex as a basis for interaction.
  2. Law’s Public/Private Structure, by Christian Turner. This preprint (subsequently published in the Florida State University Law Review) creates a taxonomy of the legal distinction between public and private entities based on which type control 1) the creation and definition of law, and 2) prosecution.
  3. Medical Decision Making for Youth in Foster Care, by Zach Straussberger. Forthcoming in the John Marshall Law Review, this paper reports survey and interview results on the gap between who is legally allowed to made decisions on behalf of youth in foster care, and who is typically doing so.
  4. Two Years after Alice vs. CLS Bank, by Jasper L. Tran. Recently published in the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society, the paper shows that subsequent to the Alice decision, which raised the patentability standard for computer-implemented inventions, substantial majorities of challenged patents have been invalidated by the courts.
  5. Happy to Help? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Performing Acts of Kindness on the Well-Being of the Actor, by Oliver Scott Curry et al. This meta-analysis of research on whether performing acts of kindness result in a sense of well-being finds a small-to-medium positive effect across some 21 studies.

These top five papers reflect the early adoption of the site by some legal scholars. We accept papers from all social sciences as well as law. And the site allows faceted browsing and searching by subject area as well as keywords.

You can always see what’s new on the site by visiting the search page and selecting Sort by: Upload date. We’re working on new features, such as sorting by popularity. In the meantime, we’ll be highlighting more research from SocArXiv on the blog. Check it out, and add your own!

SocArXiv launches, brings sociology and social science into the open, with new grant support

SocArXiv, the open access, open source archive of social science, is officially launching in beta version today.

For more information contact: Philip Cohen, Director;

December 7, 2016


SocArXiv, the open access, open source archive of social science, is officially launching in beta version today. Created in partnership with the Center for Open Science, SocArXiv provides a free, noncommercial service for rapid sharing of academic papers; it is built on the Open Science Framework, a platform for researchers to upload data and code as well as research results.

By uploading working papers and preprints of their articles to SocArXiv, social scientists can now make their work immediately and permanently available to other researchers and the public, and discoverable via search engines. This alleviates the frustration of slow times to publication and sidesteps paywalls that limit the audience for academic research. Since SocArXiv is a not-for-profit alternative to existing commercial platforms, researchers can also be assured that they are sharing their research in an environment where access, not profit, will remain at the heart of the mission.

Since development was first announced in July, researchers have deposited more than 600 papers, downloaded over 10,000 times, in anticipation of SocArXiv’s launch. SocArXiv anticipates rapid growth in that number in the coming year as it establishes a reputation as the fully open repository for sociology and social science research.

“SocArXiv is an exciting opportunity to democratize access to the best of social science research,” said Katherine Newman, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “This will assist the nation’s academics in making clear to the public why their work matters beyond the ivy walls.”

“We are building the future of social science scholarly communication,” added SocArXiv director Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, which serves as the archive’s institutional home. “It’s past time for social scientists – and sociologists in particular – to bring their work out into the open, to make it better, faster, more accountable, and more transparent.”

While the archive welcomes all social science research, the program is building from a strength in sociology, a discipline that lacks a strong tradition of preprint publication and open scholarship. With the Center for Open Science developing the technology, SocArXiv is focusing on planning, community mobilization, outreach, and governance of the archive. To that end, the Open Society Foundations and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have each granted the initiative at the University of Maryland $50,000 for the coming year.


SocArXiv is a partner of the nonprofit Center for Open Science and is housed at the University of Maryland. Led by a steering committee of sociologists and research library leaders, it is dedicated to opening up social science, reaching more people more effectively, improving academic research, and building the future. Learn more at

SocArXiv updates


Lots of exciting new developments and innovation in the works at SocArXiv. Here is a quick rundown. 

Everything described here is under development. The new services are public so people can start testing them out, offering feedback, and think about building tools to work with them. Everything in our partnership with the Center for Open Science (COS) is open source, open access, and non-profit.

  • COS has opened their general preprint server, now aptly described as “The open preprint repository network.” This is the system that hosts SocArXiv, and it will allow integration of papers from many different services, such as the giant arXiv (which is mostly math and physics), the new bioRxiv, and the new communities hosted by COS, which so far include SocArXiv, engRxiv, and PsyArXiv. At this site you can search all the preprint servers at once, or any combination of them. However, at present you can still only add papers to SocArXiv using our email deposit system (click Add your Preprints for instructions). This is temporary; soon you will be able to upload papers at the main site and identify which archive(s) you want to submit them to. All papers added to SocArXiv now will be in the database.
  • The COS preprint server is integrated with SHARE, the free, open dataset of the entire research life cycle (described here). SHARE currently includes 120+ sources, including all the preprint servers, a lot of institutional repositories, and the big public databases like PubMed and BioMed and DataCite. The beauty of this for SocArXiv users is it will allow us to generate, for example, lists or notifications for a school or department’s scholarly output, a keyword, or a conference or working paper series. SHARE is in process of upgrading to version 2 now, but people with interests in programming this sort of thing can visit the API documentation page (please be aware indexing is not yet complete).
  • COS has a new partnership with Overleaf, a company that offers a free LaTeX authoring platform, to support the automatic submission of manuscripts to the new preprint servers. LaTeX users should also check out the SocArXiv template authored by Christopher Marcum.
  • Our media highlights page includes a Bloomberg View post urging sociologists to give away working papers like our richer, more influential cousins the economists do; a column by Barbara Fister on the rapid advance of open access, and other news. You probably also want to read this thorough paper on the benefits of open scholarship for researchers’ careers.
  • SocArXiv director Philip Cohen has been accepted to represent the project at the OpenCon conference in Washington, D.C. this fall.

Remember, post papers here, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, email us to get involved or volunteer, and make a tax-deductible contribution through the University of Maryland here, watch the pronunciation video here.

SocArXiv goes to the American Sociological Association

See you at ASA! (And some updates on how you can get involved.)

We wrote previously to urge sociologists to upload their papers for the American Sociological Association conference. On the Scatterplot blog, steering committee member Dan Hirschman wrote to invite you to the annual blogger party, now including SocArXiv. It will be Sunday, August 21 from 4pm-7pm at The Pine Box Bar, 1600 Melrose Ave, in Seattle, and everyone is welcome.

At the party, or anywhere you see one, get a button! (with magnetic clips that won’t harm your clothes, and that you can stick to your fridge or filing cabinet later):


And we have flyers, suitable for printing or sharing online (click to enlarge):

SocArXiv flyer

Or in PDF format, in black-and-white or color.

Please share!

Meanwhile, a few brief updates:

  1. We have more than 300 papers in the archive already, from people using the temporary email upload service. Check them out at (and, of course, upload your own). They are from a wide variety of disciplines, including sociology, communications, law, political science, geography, and others.
  2. We expect the full site to launch this fall. It will have full search and discovery tools, an easy form for entering your own author information, subjects and tags, and tools for editing papers online.
  3. Our partners at the Center for Open Science are working with Google Scholar to get papers indexed by their service (they are currently discoverable by Google, but not Scholar), and with SHARE to allow setting up feeds and notifications for papers posted to the site.
  4. The paper server has welcomed two new partners, in psychology (PsyArXiv) and engineering (engrXiv). Don’t worry about our work being arbitrarily separated between disciplines, though, as it is easy to post papers to different sections in one easy upload (described here).
  5. We have much more work to do. We are organizing working groups in four areas to develop the site, its features, and governance model. Please email if you are interested in contributing to the Outreach, Governance, Interface, or Reviewing groups.
  6. Finally, we are preparing a fundraising campaign, to include individual and institutional donors. If you (or your institution) would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to SocArXiv through the University of Maryland, visit:, or email.

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Announcing the development of SocArXiv, an open social science archive

It’s past time for social scientists to bring their work out into the open, to make it better, faster, more accountable, and more transparent.

July 2016

SocArXiv announces a partnership with the Center for Open Science to develop a free, open access, open source archive for social science research. The initiative responds to growing recognition of the need for faster, open sharing of research on a truly open access platform for the social sciences. Papers on SocArXiv will be permanently available and free to the public.

Social scientists want their work to be broadly accessible, but it is mostly locked up from the public and even other researchers – even when the public has paid for it. SocArXiv wants to help change that. In recent years, academic networking sites have offered to make preprints available and help researchers connect with each other, but the dominant networks are run by for-profit companies whose primary interest is in growing their business, not in providing broad access to knowledge. SocArXiv puts access front and center, and its mission is to serve researchers and readers, not to make money.

Social science is in the middle of a heated conversation about the reliability and reproducibility of our results. By partnering with the Open Science Framework, this initiative lays the groundwork for a broader project that can provide access to data and code along with papers, allow for preregistration of studies, and (if researchers choose) provide public peer review of completed work. In short, the open archive will improve our science, better connect us as scholars, help place control of the research process back in the hands of researchers instead of for-profit publishers and gatekeepers, and deepen our engagement with the public.

The first phase of the project will be a preprint server for social scientists, providing the following services:

  • Fast, free uploading of academic papers and open access for all readers
  • Free registration open to all, regardless of academic affiliation
  • Permanent identifiers that link to the latest version of a paper (authors can provide links to versions published elsewhere)
  • Full access and discoverability through Google Scholar and other research tools
  • The option to use any Creative Commons license
  • Comment and discussion on papers among registered users
  • Grouping of papers together for conferences or working groups
  • Analytics data on how often papers have been accessed
  • Easy sharing on social media sites – without requiring readers to register

As the archive grows, SocArXiv will engage the community of scholars, members of the research library community, and publishers to develop a fuller publishing platform, with post-publication peer review and evaluation, and open access electronic journals.

“SocArXiv is an exciting opportunity to democratize access to the best of social science research,” said Katherine Newman, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “This resource will make it possible for students, faculty, researchers, policy makers, and the public at large to benefit from the wealth of information, analysis, debate and generative ideas for which the social sciences are so well known. This will assist the nation’s academics in making clear to the public why their work matters beyond the ivy walls.”

Chris Bourg, Director of MIT Libraries, added, “We need to find new, efficient ways to foster openness and inclusion in the research process. As an open-source, open-access preprint server with a post-publication review system, SocArXiv represents the kind of innovative thinking we need right now in scholarly communication.”

Each year, social scientists write thousands of papers for presentation at conferences and submission to peer-reviewed journals. These papers usually remain out of sight for months or even years, slowing the progress of research and impeding the capacity of researchers to collaborate and learn from each other’s work. With an open access preprint server, papers can be read by anyone immediately. SocArXiv will allow researchers to reap the benefits of openness and sharing while protecting the record of their scholarly contributions.

For example, an author may post a working paper to be presented at a conference. After presenting the paper and receiving feedback, the author revises the paper (now updated on SocArXiv) and submits it for publication. After further revisions, the paper is published a year later, and a link is posted at SocArXiv from the final preprint to the published version. All along the research was open to the public – who were invited to share and comment – while the researcher’s authorship was publicly marked, and the work was available for citation. All scholars will retain control over the papers they post, including the ability to revise them (with or without allowing access to previous versions) or to remove them from the archive.

In addition, papers on SocArXiv may be linked to the full suite of services available free through the Open Science Framework. OSF supports project management and collaboration, connects services across the research lifecycle, and archives data, materials, and other research objects for private use or public sharing. OSF also provides project preregistration to improve research transparency and accountability.

“We are building the future of social science scholarly communication,” said SocArXiv Director Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, which serves as the archive’s institutional home. “It’s past time for social scientists to bring their work out into the open, to make it better, faster, more accountable, and more transparent.”

With the Center for Open Science as a technology partner, Cohen added, “there is nothing to stop us from making this future a reality. The barriers to openness now are social and political, not economic or technological.”

SocArXiv is directed by a steering committee of sociologists and members of the research library community. They are:

An advisory board with representation from a wide array of research communities is in formation.

Visit for more information or to sign up for updates. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook. To make a tax-deductible contribution to SocArXiv through the University of Maryland, visit:

arXiv is a trademark of Cornell University, used under license.