FAQ

These are the questions we get most often so far. Please let us know if your question isn’t answered here!

What is SocArXiv?

How do I upload a paper?

What is open access?

What is a preprint?

What can I post to SocArXiv?

How should I license my work on SocArXiv?

What about other research materials?

Does a specific journal I have in mind allow me to share preprints in SocArXiv?

Does Google Scholar index SocArXiv?

Do papers that are upload to SocArXiv receive a Digital Object Identifier?

What are the benefits of using SocArXiv?

What is the legal status of SocArXiv?

How can we make sure that SocArXiv isn’t just bought up by Elsevier or some other company the way SSRN was?

What are the Center for Open Science and the Open Science Framework?

Why use SocArXiv versus other sites?


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 800 papers.  


How do I upload a paper?

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.) For an example, here’s a video tutorial of someone uploading a paper.


What is open access?

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.


What is a “preprint”?

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.


What can I post to SocArXiv?

Although SocArXiv is part of the Open Science Framework Preprints service, we host academic research 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.

How should I license my work on SocArXiv?

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.

What about other research materials?

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.


I have a specific journal in mind to publish in, do they allow me to share preprints in SocArXiv?

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.


Does Google Scholar index SocArXiv?

Yes, as of April 2017 Google Scholar is successfully ingesting and linking to SocArXiv papers (and other papers on the OSF Preprints server).


Do papers that are upload to SocArXiv receive a Digital Object Identifier?

Not yet. All SocArXiv papers are automatically part of an OSF Framework project, however, and authors can mint a DOI for their project. 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 preprint to link to the latest published version. The ability to assign a DOI to a paper directly on SocArXiv is coming soon.


What are the benefits of using SocArXiv?

  • Stable, permanent 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.

What is the legal status of SocArXiv?

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.


How can we be sure that SocArXiv isn’t just bought up by Elsevier or some other company the way SSRN was?

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.”


What is the Center for Open Science (COS) and the Open Science Framework (OSF)?

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.


Why use SocArXiv versus other sites?

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
Permanent URL across versions ? no no yes
Mint DOI for your paper ? no some yes
Download count some? maybe maybe yes
Contributing to the future of open scholarly communication no weakly maybe yes