A question at a LESA seminar I was involved with brought the thought of republishing to mind. An attendee at the seminar asked if articles posted to SSRN as prepublications to a peer reviewed journal release were altered or whether they could be the same text as what the journal published. My answer off the cuff was that I had a sense that the articles could be edited after posting to SSRN and before publication, but I confess that I have no proof of this.

The republishing that I am thinking of is not the actions the SCC contempated in Robertson, but where an author submits a work to more than one forum,or provides submitted works to SSRN.

The Social Science Research Network site provides:

Each of SSRN’s networks encourages the early distribution of research results by publishing Submitted abstracts and by soliciting abstracts of top quality research papers around the world. We now have hundreds of journals, publishers, and institutions in Partners in Publishing that provide working papers for distribution through SSRN’s eLibrary and abstracts for publication in SSRN’s electronic journals.

SSRN includes a copyright message for authors uploading a paper:

You will be shown a brief copyright message which you need to read and agree to by clicking “Continue” before you begin entering information. The statement reads: IMPORTANT: SSRN does not take a copyright. When you upload a paper, you give SSRN the non-exclusive right to post and electronically distribute your article. You retain the right to remove your paper from SSRN at any time.

SSRN was founded in October 1994, and is a clear example of successful republishing. In July 2011, SSRN was again named the Number 1 Open Access Repository in the World.

My question for Slawyers: Is it republishing or is it open access, or are they essentially the same?


  1. David Collier-Brown

    Is there such a thing a prepublishing in law? That’s what the scientific “preprints” sites think they’re doing…


  2. David,
    I think you could make an argument that the Legal Scholorship on SSRN is prepublishing. Check out that specfic section at
    Tomato, tomahto?