Here is a basic how-to guide to using SocArXiv. This offers step-by-step instructions for uploading a paper, attaching supplemental materials, uploading a new version of the paper if you revise it, and linking your paper to the published version in a journal.
For more information, here are answers to the questions we get most often. Please let us know if your question isn’t answered here!
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 1600 papers.
You can go straight to SocArXiv.org and click on “Add a Preprint,” and follow the instructions. (If you haven’t yet, you will need to create a free account on the Open Science Framework as part of that process.) Here is a basic how-to guide to using SocArXiv. For an example, here’s a video tutorial of someone uploading a paper.
Papers are moderated before they appear on SocArXiv, a process we expect to take less than two days. Our policy involves a five-point checklist, confirming that papers are (1) scholarly, (2) in research areas that we support, (3) are plausibly categorized, (4) are correctly attributed, and (5) are in languages that we moderate. In addition, we seek to accept only papers that authors have the right to share, although we do not check copyrights in the moderation process. For details, view the moderation policy.
Historically, academic journal articles are published behind “paywalls,” which means only those who have a subscription (often through their university library) or the ability to pay can access and read them. Open access refers to the practice of making academic research publicly available for free, which means more people can access and read it.
A preprint is generally considered to be “a manuscript draft that has not yet been subject to formal peer review, distributed to receive early feedback on research from peers” (Source: Open Research Glossary). Some people also refer to this as an “unrefereed preprint.” By another definition, “preprint” includes papers that have been accepted for publication in a scholarly journal, but not yet been “printed” (on paper or electronically). For example, when journals post accepted papers that have not yet been “published,” these may be called preprints as well.
Although SocArXiv is part of the Open Science Framework Preprints service, we host research papers at a number of stages in the research process:
- Working papers: Any draft of a paper that is ready to share with interested parties, but has not yet been peer reviewed. If you are sharing your work with a group of colleagues, a conference, or a journal, this may be the perfect time to widen the circle and post it on SocArXiv.
- Preprints: Most people use this term to refer to completed papers that have not yet been peer reviewed (like working papers). However, by some definitions this includes versions of a paper that have been peer reviewed but are not yet published by a journal. However you define preprints, SocArXiv will host them.
- Post-prints: After a paper has been published by a journal, this is a version that you elect to share on our open platform. It may be a version that does not include the journal’s formatting or other changes, or it may be the publisher’s copy (or “version of record”) if you have the right to distribute it. This is the version you share when you’ve published something but it’s behind a paywall and you want anyone to be able to read it.
We offer three options: No license, CC-0 1.0 Universal (public domain waiver), or CC-BY Attribution 4.0 International. Both of these CC options are excellent choices that allow reuse, adaptation, copying, and distribution, including commercially. A CC-0 option is a donation of the work to the public domain (no permission required) whereas CC-BY allows the author to retain copyright, and requires the reader to give credit to the source and to provide a link to the license terms. Both licenses promote openness, efficiency and progress by providing certainty to the user as to what reuses or adaptations can be made. Read more here.
Every paper on SocArXiv is automatically associated with a Project on the Open Science Framework platform. Researchers can attach data, code, or other research materials to their papers by including them in the associated project. We also encourage sharing data and code on the Open Science Framework in the spirit of openness and transparency. (The how-to guide includes information on sharing research materials.)
Most publishers do permit sharing of preprint versions. And most journals will let you submit a working paper that has previously been posted. For example, the American Sociological Association explicitly permits authors to post their papers in non-peer reviewed repositories, before, during, or after they are reviewed by ASA journals. We have compiled a list of 25 prominent sociology journals and their preprint/archive policies, and made it available here. In addition, you can check a specific journal by looking at their website or try Sherpa Romeo, which is a database of publisher copyright and self-archiving policies.
Yes, Google Scholar is successfully ingesting and linking to SocArXiv papers (and other papers on the OSF Preprints server).
Yes. In addition, if a paper previously has a DOI from a different publisher, that information can be included when uploading it to SocArXiv, which will allow the paper to link to the latest published version. Note also that the OSF platform on which SocArXiv runs creates a persistent URL for every paper.
- Stable, persistent URL to use in your CV, professional portfolio, citations, etc.
- Download statistics
- Getting your work out faster than traditional publishing
- One place to store many outputs and materials for each project
- Promote social science without walls by supporting open access, open source, public goods research infrastructure.
SocArXiv is a partner of the nonprofit Center for Open Science (COS), and SocArXiv as a web platform is hosted on the OSF Framework. As a legal entity, SocArXiv is an administrative unit at University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). Grants and donations come to UMD, and then are administered by SocArXiv Director Philip Cohen. The SocArXiv Steering Committee is actively involved in an advisory role, and volunteer working groups provide additional assistance. UMD provides fiscal oversight, ensuring that all expenses paid are justified according to University standards.
You can’t be sure, although we give your our word. However, SocArXiv does not own your papers and anyone can always continue to give them away for free, so Elsevier wouldn’t make much money trying to sell them. In addition, the whole Center for Open Science system is backed up by “a $250,000 preservation fund for hosted data in the event that COS had to curtail or close its offices. If activated, the preservation fund will preserve and maintain read access to hosted data.”
COS is our technology partner and the owner of OSF Preprints, the platform on which SocArXiv runs. OSF Preprints is a part of OSF, which “provides free and open source project management support for researchers across the entire research lifecycle.” It not only hosts SocArXiv papers, but also allows you to link your papers to other components of your research projects, such as data and code. You can learn more about COS by visiting their FAQ page.
|ResearchGate, Academia.edu||Personal website||Your institutional repository||SocArXiv|
|Free to upload||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Free to read||May require registration||yes||yes||yes|
|Non-profit, public-interest service||no||If hosted by your university||If hosted by your university||yes|
|Complete metadata, including co-authors, DOI, ORCID, etc.||maybe||no||maybe||yes|
|Link to repository for data, code, etc.||no||If you build it||maybe||yes|
|Persistent URL across versions||?||no||no||yes|
|Mint DOI for your paper||?||no||some||yes|
|Contributing to the future of open scholarly communication||no||weakly||maybe||yes|
Generally, papers cannot be withdrawn once accepted, unless 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. If you want to correct a paper, you should post a new version. If you no longer stand behind a paper, you may post a new version that announces the paper as withdrawn. Older versions will still be available in the version history, but the new version will be served to readers first if they follow links or references to the original paper. Our policy, with a more detailed rationale, is available here.