Elsevier acquires Social Science Research Network

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Elsevier has acquired the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Founded in 1994, SSRN is a Rochester, NY-based scholarly research preprint repository and online community. SSRN will be further developed alongside Mendeley, a London-based free reference manager and scholarly collaboration network owned by Elsevier.

The publisher says SSRN members will benefit from the Mendeley technology platform, its scholarly collaboration network, a leading reference manager and other personal library management tools. Additionally, SSRN members will benefit from access to Mendeley’s researcher professional profile capabilities, person to person network communications and 'follow' capabilities.

For Elsevier and Mendeley, adding SSRN accelerates its social community strategy, brings opportunities for enhanced author relationships, and provides access to a leading resource for content, the companies say.

'Our goal is to further enhance engagement within and around a SSRN member’s academic work, while still providing the same core services that our members value and expect,' said Gregg Gordon, president and CEO, SSRN. 

'Mendeley has thrived since obtaining the support of the world’s largest science publisher, and now we will be able to offer broader services that more deeply integrate into the workflows of all parties in the social network of science. Most importantly, we will continue our core mission of providing researchers with free submissions and free downloads.'

'SSRN has established a solid network in Social Science domains, sharing working papers and showcasing researchers and institutions,' added Jan Reichelt, co-founder and managing director at Mendeley. 'Together we can provide greater access to a growing user-generated content base on which we can build new tools and increase engagement between researchers and their papers. We intend to scale and maximize SSRN in ways that benefit authors, institutions and the entire scientific ecosystem.'

SSRN’s chairman, CEO and other employees will remain with the company, and SSRN will retain its 'freemium' model, with content ‘free to submit, and free to download’ for its users.

Various commentators have already criticised the move through social media and blogs, stating that Elsevier are moving towards a model that links it with researchers more directly, while reducing the role of libraries. One twitter commenter even predicted the formation of a 'University of Elsevier'.