What is SSRN?
SSRN, also known as the Social Science Research Network, is a repository of new and forthcoming scholarship in a number of disciplines, including law (as part of the Legal Scholarship Network division of SSRN). Scholarship produced by UW Law faculty is distributed distributed through the SSRN UW Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series (RPS). Anyone may subscribe to SSRN as an author, regardless of their affiliation with a university, but only designated papers are included in the UW Law RPS.
Submitting an Article or Working Paper to SSRN
If you plan to post an article or paper on SSRN and you are a member of the UW faculty, please do not post to the SSRN website directly but instead complete this form in order to ensure that your work is included in the UW Law School RPS. Posting through the online form affiliates your work with that of other UW Law faculty. When you post through the online system, a cover page is added to your paper which indicates its affiliation with the UW Law RPS and assigns a number in that series.
Periodically, we collect the most recently posted papers in UW Law RPS and generate an email for distribution to anyone who subscribes to the series. This includes all current faculty and staff, alumni, and anyone who has independently subscribed to receive UW Law RPS updates via the SSRN website. Thus, by posting new papers to the SSRN database, notice of and a link to your contribution will be automatically included in an email distribution together with other newly posted papers. Only recently published articles and new (less than two years old) working papers will be included in the email distribution. Older papers (those that are more than 2 years old) may also be submitted to SSRN and affiliated with the UW Law RPS, but they will not be included in the email distribution.
For more information from SSRN regarding the submission process, see the SSRN FAQ.
At what stage can I post a paper on SSRN?
Posting is at the complete discretion of the author. Some recommend that authors post only "accepted" papers that are very close to publication, so that the work on SSRN is in close to final form, while others suggest that sometimes SSRN serves as a useful place to stake a claim on an idea, so that a posting of an early draft or even just an abstract is appropriate. You may post previously published works so long as you hold the copyright.
What is an "accepted" paper versus a "working" paper?
An "accepted" paper is one that has been accepted for publication in a book or journal. A "working" paper is one that has not yet been so accepted.
What kinds of papers should I include in the UW Law RPS?
This decision is largely at the discretion of the author. Anyone can post papers to SSRN that are unaffiliated with any particular series. If you do so, there are many subject matter journals which will pick up papers and generate email distribution lists to specific audiences, based on keywords and JEL codes (see below). The UW Law RPS does not do that, rather, our series consists of self-selected research papers submitted by Wisconsin law faculty and staff who want to have a UW Law cover page on their articles, and who want their articles distributed to our audience. Accordingly, if you have a "research paper," however you define the term, you may choose to include it in the RPS.
Do I have to use the Law School's online form to post a paper on SSRN?
Yes, by using the Law School's online form your scholarship can be branded to the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Papers Series. Designating your current work as part of this series guarantees that it will be included in the quarterly email which SSRN generates to subscribers. As previously stated, we will gladly accept and post older papers on your behalf (those more than two years old) but these submissions are not included in the SSRN email distribution
Having your scholarship included in the UW Legal Studies Research Paper Series is an outstanding marketing opportunity plus the Law School's online form is designed to make the submission process easy for you. In addition to posting your scholarship on SSRN, the Law Library staff will add these citations to the faculty bibliography, share the citations with the External Relations Office, and eventually begin to create an online repository for the Law School.
What if I need to post a revised version of my paper?
Complete the online form but indicate that the paper has already been posted. This is a required question on the form. If you wish to elaborate, simply add information or notes in the "Title" field.
How many keywords should I use and how should I pick them?
Since keywords are essential in searching, it is generally beneficial to use as many as possible. There is no one convention so using multiple words and phrases is acceptable. For instance, a paper on international law could include both "international" and "international law" as keywords, and might consider "transnational" and "global" in various iterations as well.
What are JEL codes and how should I use them?
JEL codes are a classification system created by the Journal of Economic Literature. See the complete listing. Because JEL is concerned with economics literature, the JEL codes are often too narrow to describe legal writing, and there may be cases where none are appropriate.
What if I have other questions?
Feel free to contact librarians Cheryl O'Connor and Kris Turner.