For Faculty: Good News, Bad News

Posted on July 18th, 2016 by

socarxivSocial scientists, rejoice! A new platform for sharing social research has just been announced, just in time to replace SSRN (the Social Science Research Network purchased by Elsevier with unsurprisingly disastrous results). Though SocArXiv is still under development, you can already upload papers, pre-prints, and any research to which you hold the rights. Don’t forget to also send us a copy to put into our own repository, Gustie Scholar. You can read more about it at the LSE Impact blog from one of the founders, Philip Cohen.

The not-so-good news is that a bunch of stuff including Web of Science has been sold by its parent company to a private equity partnership. Typically,that means the product won’t be improved; it will be broken up and resold. It’s likely that another company will buy WOS in due course and the price to us could go up as a result – one publishing consultant calls it a “cash cow.” Nature is a prime candidate, as it reports in its own journal (which means it would be in good hands, but when Nature bought Scientific American the library subscription price increased 17 times its previous rate). We rather like the option a Cambridge librarian made: what if the academic community bought it?

Making such a purchase collectively would be difficult – that’s why we need investments in projects like SocArXiv and Open Library of Humanities as non-commercial alternatives.


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