Student Notes R.I.P. or Survive on SSRN?

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A student asked me what happens to notes that are not accepted for publication on a law review. When I mentioned that they may be submitted to other journals but often they are not published, she seemed a little down about the work not being seen.

As I thought about the topic, I came to a few questions. Does anyone know whether students are putting notes on SSRN or assuming some are posting how many do so? Is there a policy about who can post? Furthermore, is it fair to ask whether they should be “allowed”, as it were, to put work on SSRN? On one hand, the amount of information (some good and some perhaps not so good) would increase but I could see arguments about too much noise or information overload being raised. Then again, one already has to wade through volumes of information using search strings and the like so perhaps adding more narrow but hopefully well done pieces to that pool will allow scholars to focus on large implications of their research and use the increased access to notes as a way to more efficiently see what work has been done on a particular topic that is a footnote or small part of the scholar’s work. So although I would suggest one should be careful using such information because it has not been screened, I think accuracy and quality issues are always in play and a researcher must continually use his or her own judgment regarding how much to trust any piece.

So what do people think? Should unaccepted notes R.I.P. or should they survive on SSRN?

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4 Responses

  1. If they accept working papers, why shouldn’t they accept non-published student notes? Or better, why can’t one post their student note prior to acceptance/publication as a working paper?

  2. Zvi Rosen says:

    Even if the piece isn’t particularly useful for its conclusions and/or argument, it’s still possible that the research that went into the piece and the footnotes would be…

  3. Dave! says:

    I’ve been working on a paper (as a student) that I had planned on posting to SSRN when I have the draft ready. I don’t see any reason why students who are motivated enough to do the work and who are interested enough in potential feedback should not be able to participate in SSRN.

  4. Deven Desai says:

    Please know that I am not saying students should not be able to participate in SSRN. The questions began as I wondered whether and/or how many students post and then thought about the impact large numbers of posts would have if any. Also note that I do not think nor am I saying that SSRN prohibits posts. I am wondering whether the site has any rules on who may post.