Over at The Laboratorium, James Grimmelmann explains why he is no longer posting his papers to the Social Science Research Network (aka, SSRN). "Despite being a system supposedly designed to encourage the spread of scholarship," he writes, SSRN "has made a striking series of decisions that cut against open access."
I simply do not trust it to put the interests of scholarship ahead of its own. I don't know what other ugly surprises are lurking ahead, but I'm not eager to find out the hard way. I don't want my papers held hostage there, and I don't want to make things any harder on my readers than absolutely necessary. I will not post any more papers to SSRN, and I will not direct readers to my past papers archived there.I largely share James's concerns. I'm not quite ready to pull the plug and stop posting to SSRN, but I have certainly thought about it. I'm particularly eager to see if SSRN will end its mandatory watermarking practice, which was introduced as an "experiment" and I hope is a short-lived one.