When you upload your conference paper, you give your audience the opportunity to engage with your work more seriously: read the paper, study the research materials you attach to it, and cite it — giving you formal precedence for your work and increasing its reach and impact. Later, if you publish it in a journal or some other venue, you can post a new version and people using the link will automatically be directed to the latest version (and see a link to the journal version, if there is one).
In addition, for the conference itself, you can use tags when you upload your paper to create communities of scholarship. Give it the ASA2021 tag for the American Sociological Association conference, for example. Then people can browse all the open uploaded conference papers as they prepare the schedules, at this link: https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/discover?q=tags%3A(%22ASA2021%22).
Or, get the members of your panel to all use a tag like ASA2021-101 (for session 101, e.g.), and give out this URL for a link to all the papers: https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/discover?q=tags%3A(%22ASA2021-101%22).
(To make your own tag link, just go to SocArXiv.org, enter tags:("your tag") in the search bar, and copy the URL on the results page.)
If you give out a link directly to your paper, or a tag to your panel session, before the conference, you encourage a deeper level of engagement during your session, and your signal your embrace of transparent and accountable social science. (You can also upload your slides in the associated project if you want to share those.) Then, share a link directly to your paper, or all the papers, at the session itself.
Beyond one conference, this simple tagging allows for relatively spontaneous grouping of scholarship, as when someone says, “We need to organize the recent work on police violence,” and people start uploading and tagging their work. But it just as well facilitates more organized efforts. Just as such groupings use Twitter hashtags to pull people together, we can do the same thing with scholarship using SocArxiv. Groups that might benefit from this tool include:
- Working groups on a research topic
- Panels for an upcoming conference
- Departments or groups within departments
- Sections of the American Sociological Association or others
- Scholar-activist groups
Any such group can simply share the instructions above and notify participants of the associated tag. The link to the tag will always generate a web page listing the associated papers.
This simple functionality is already very powerful, but we are always looking for ways to improve it and offer more options. People trying it out now will help with this development process. We hope you’ll try it out.
Don’t wait for your association to act
Yes, it would be better if the American Sociological Association (or other lagging associations) would provide SocArXiv’s level of service to conference participants, with archiving, DOIs, permanent links, versioning, commenting, and supporting materials. But you don’t have to wait for them to catch up. We provide this for free thanks to support from the University of Maryland Libraries, the nonprofit Center for Open Science, and the volunteers who work on our service.