Using SocArXiv to improve the impact of your conference paper

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:

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:

(To make your own tag link, just go to, 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.

Scholarship communities

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.

With gift from MIT Libraries, SocArXiv offers 2019 SOAR awards

PNC photo / CC-BY-SA /

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 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 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 if you are interested in developing a similar program for your organization.

SocArXiv participates in ARL-SSRC meeting on open scholarship in social sciences

Image CC-BY Jer Thorp.

In December 2018 five members of the SocArXiv steering committee — Judy Ruttenberg, Rebecca Kennison, Chris Bourg, Elizabeth Popp Berman, and Philip Cohen, in different capacities — participated in a meeting organized by the Association of Research Libraries and the Social Science Research Council, with representatives from social science scholarly societies, libraries, funders, and engaged academics, to develop a shared agenda for the future of open scholarship.

A meeting report and summary is here.

A selection from video interviews Philip Cohen did with Alson Reed, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Brian Nosek, Jessica Polka, Ed Liebow, and Chris Bourg, is available here.

A presentation about academy-owned peer review, from Philip Cohen and Micah Altman, is here.

Other presentations included Elizabeth Popp Berman on the nature of both closure and openness in the economics discipline, and Marcel LaFlamme on the risks for scholarly societies in embracing — or not embracing — openness.

By the end of the meeting, participants agreed on five action steps to move forward together:

  1. Conduct an authoritative investigation into scholarly society finances by
    a trusted third party, as the basis for financial and business model
    conversations with societies and external stakeholders
  2. Commission a paper on the role of scholarly societies and scholarly
    affiliation in a post-subscription environment
  3. Conduct a case study pilot on linguistics promotion-and-tenure (P&T)
  4. Explore implementing peer review in SocArXiv and PsyArXiv
  5. Assess the impact of the reporting relationship between university presses
    and university libraries

SocArXiv grants seven Sociology Open Access Recognition Awards

Photo pnc / Flickr CC

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:


Sociologists: Amend your agreements with ASA/Sage


By Philip N. Cohen

This is a followup to a previous post, and contains some duplication.

I have spoken well of the policy that permits authors to post preprint versions of their papers before submitting them to journals of the American Sociological Association. That means you can get your work out more broadly while it’s going through the review process. The rule says:

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.

The policy goes on to ask that authors modify their posted papers to acknowledge publication if they are subsequently published. That’s all reasonable. This is why SocArXiv and other services offer authors the opportunity to link their papers to the DOI (record locator) for the published version, should it become available. This allows citation aggregators such as Google Scholar to link the records.

The problem

Unfortunately, the good part of this policy is undermined by the ASA / Sage author agreement that authors sign when their paper is accepted. It transfers the copyright of the paper to ASA, and sets conditions under which authors can distribute the paper in the future. The key passage here is this:

1. Subject to the conditions in this paragraph, without further permission each Contributor may …

  • At any time, circulate or post on any repository or website, the version of the Contribution that Contributors submitted to the Journal (i.e. the version before peer-review) or an abstract of the Contribution.
  • No sooner than 12 months after initial publication, post on any non-commercial repository or website the version of the Contribution that was accepted for publication.

This is not good. It means that if you post a paper publicly, e.g., on SocArXiv, and then submit it to ASA, you can’t update it to the revised version as your paper moves through the process. Only 12 months after ASA publishes it can you update the preprint version to match the version that the journal approved.

This policy, if followed, would produce multiple bad outcomes.

One scenario is that people post papers publicly, and submit them to ASA journals for review. Over the course of the next year or so, the paper is substantially revised and eventually published, but the preprint version is not updated until a full year after that, often two years after the initial submission. That means readers don’t get to see the improved version, and authors have to live with people reading and sharing their unimproved work. This discourages people from sharing their papers in the first place.

In the other scenario, people update their preprints as the paper goes through the revision process, so they and their readers get the benefit of access to the latest work. However, when the paper is accepted authors are expected to remove from public view that revised paper, and only share the pre-review version. If this were feasible, it would be terrible for science and the public interest, as well as the author’s career interests. Of course, this isn’t really feasible — you can’t unring the bell of internet distribution (SocArXiv and other preprint services do not allow removing papers, which would corrupt the scholarly record.) This would also discourage people from sharing their papers in the first place.

The individual solution

Fortunately, you are a volitional agent in a free market information ecosystem, and you don’t have to just sign whatever PDF some corporate conglomerate puts in front of you. My suggestion is that you amend the agreement before you sign it. After receiving your acceptance, when the managing editor sends you the author agreement for your signature, politely notify the editor that you will be happy to sign the agreement with a minor amendment. Then strike through the offending text and add the amendment. I recommend the following text:

  • No sooner than 12 months after initial publication, post on any non-commercial repository or website the version of the Contribution that was accepted for publication.
  • At any time, post to SocArXiv (a non-commercial, open-access repository) the version of the Contribution that was accepted for publication, with a DOI link and bibliographic reference to the published Contribution.

Then sign the agreement and return it. Here’s a visual depiction of the amendment:

sage amendment

Don’t panic! Yes, this publication may be the last thing standing between you and tenure or a better job. But the journal will not cancel your publication when you do this. The very worst thing that will happen is they will say “No!” Then you can roll over and accept the original agreement. (After the dust settles, I’d love it if you let me know this happened.) People amend these agreements all the time. Give it a try!

Here’s the relevant passage in “Alice’s Restaurant” (@ 14:32)

And the only reason I’m singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation,

And if you’re in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into The shrink wherever you are, just walk in say “Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.” And walk out.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony – they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out.

And friends they may think it’s a movement And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacree Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar. With feeling.

Fix the policy

So, what possible reason can there be for this policy? It is clearly intended to punish the public in order to buttress the revenue stream of Sage, which returns some of its profits to ASA, at the expense of our libraries, which pay for subscriptions to ASA journals.

I assume this policy is never enforced, as I’ve never heard of it, but I don’t know that for a fact. It’s also possible that whoever wrote the Publications policy I linked above didn’t realize that it contradicted the Sage author agreement, which basically no one reads. I also assume that such a policy does not in fact have any effect on Sage’s profits, or the profits that it kick backs to ASA. So it’s probably useless, but if it has any effects at all they’re bad, by discouraging people from distributing their work. ASA should change this author agreement.

I just got elected to the ASA Publications Committee, so I will add making this change to my platform, which I outlined here. I’m not optimistic about making policy changes at ASA in the current environment, but I am sure that the more people who join in the individual efforts, the greater our chances will be.

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


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 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.