SSRN + bepress: testing our impact

Last summer we gained a new sister company when Elsevier acquired bepress. Although the news managed to raise some eyebrows on our veteran team members, there was an obvious chance for collaboration. After many months of planning and discussions on what that collaboration might look like, we have finally begun a four-month pilot to explore integration between our platforms. Participating in the pilot with us is Columbia Law School’s Arthur W. Diamond Law Library and University of Georgia School of Law’s Library

We are thrilled to launch this project. It is the first step in our vision to work together with others in the Elsevier ecosystem in order to better support our community with their open access initiatives. – Jean-Gabriel Bankier, Managing Director at bepress

For the schools and libraries that we have always worked to support, this is great news! We’ll be working side-by-side to help find solutions to the obstacles faced in promoting open access scholarship. We are offering a new model to demonstrate the increased reach of legal scholarship when work is available through an open access repository as well as a specialized network of peers. We are simplifying the collection of papers and the data needed to measure the research impact on both SSRN and bepress.

With Open Access so dear to our mission, one of the things we hope to accomplish through the pilot is to help libraries populate their institutional repositories. Together, we will actively look for ways to transfer research articles and make them part of an institution’s open access collection.

Integrating these two platforms will reduce some of the hurdles to making law faculties’ scholarship freely available through open access.” – Carol Watson, Director of the Law Library at the University of Georgia

As always, author benefits are the key motivators behind this test. We want to ensure that authors are benefiting from this first collaboration and that they are the ones taking the credit for readership, no matter where it is downloaded from. We have been working hard lately to make sure that each paper on SSRN has useful analytics attached to it. We want authors to be able to tell the full story of their research, and bepress is helping us do that.

With this test we also hope to streamline the work of libraries and staff who use both SSRN and bepress. We are working with library staff to obtain faculty permission and experiment with various submission models, including single submission, toward the goal of discovering solutions that help researchers and institutions simplify their processes.

This is exactly the kind of synergy that I was hoping to see now that both products are under the Elsevier umbrella. – Kent McKeever, Columbia Law School Library Director

The pilot is now running full force and will continue until June of this year. In honor of our mutual and substantial followings in the law community, we plan to share our findings at the American Association of Law Libraries in July as well as in other public forums thereafter.

So, where do we go from here? In the words of our own managing director, Gregg Gordon, “we look forward to the results of this work; if our community finds this kind of integration with institutional repositories valuable, and if the pilot is replicable at scale, we will explore expanding pilots with other institutional repository platforms beyond Digital Commons.”

For further information about the pilots, please contact Promita Chatterji at pchatterji@bepress.com.

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