Oy, Elsevier acquires SSRN

SSRN, one of the earliest open access sites for social sciences, was acquired by Elsevier, which also acquired Mendeley, a scholar-friendly research collaboration platform. (h/t CRIV blog).

How will Elsevier treat its open access partner? Here’s some early thoughts. Obviously, it could continue to operate SSRN independently. Or it could integrate SSRN into Elsevier’s own “open access” pay-to-publish journal model.

SSRN’s revenue model includes a subscription fee and a separate institutional fee for publishing academic ejournals; it currently does not charge authors to submit research. Will the current revenue model of SSRN suffice in the for-profit world of publishers?

According to this post, Mendeley is still operating in the Elsevier universe without profit. But in the competitive tech world, SSRN could suffer the fate of other tech start-ups that were acquired and then quickly shut down. Just Google “tech startup acquisitions shut down.”

And what about those Elsevier take-down notices? In December 2013, TechCrunch (link) and the Chronicle of Higher Education (link) reported Elsevier issued widespread DMCA take-down notices to research-sharing social media sites like Academia.edu. and ResearchGate.net.

Should we be concerned by this?

For more thoughts, check out madLibbing, Savage Minds, and Washington University Library’s blog