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How to use SSRN for research; tips for using SSRN to share papers.


What are eJournals?

SSRN offers hundreds of eJournals for topics and institutions (like law schools). Subscribers to eJournals get email messages listing new papers in the field or from the institution. They can click through to download the papers that look interesting to them.

"New" generally means less than 12 months old.

Who decides what goes in an eJournal?

Each eJournal has one or more editors. For example, the LSN (Legal Scholarship Network) Cyberspace Law eJournal is edited by Peter Swire (Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business) and Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard Law School and other affiliations).

When authors post papers they can suggest eJournals they think are relevant, but the editors have the final say. The editors can also choose to distribute papers that the authors didn't ask to be in their eJournals.


After an abstract is distributed in an eJournal, its is part of that eJournal's eLibrary—an archive of all the abstracts classified there.

Editors can also decide to include abstracts in the eLibrary even if they don't distribute them in an eJournal. This often happens when a paper is posted that is too old to distribute.

To browse eLibraries, click on Browse at the top of the SSRN screen and drill down through the list. For example:

Legal Scholarship Network > LSN Subject Matter eJournals (246,446 papers) > Environment & Natural Resources Law eJournals (14,623 papers) > Climate Change Law & Policy eJournal (2,726 papers). (The numbers are as of Jan. 12, 2018. They grow daily.)

Legal Scholarship Network > Law School Research Papers - Legal Studies > University of Washington School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series

When you are in an eLibrary, you can sort it (e.g., to see the most downloaded papers or the most recent papers).

Searching eLibraries

Searching within an eLibrary can be very effective. Suppose you want to find papers about the impact of civil procedure rules on the poor.

Use the browse list to find the eLibrary for Economic Inequality & the Law eJournal. Now use the Search Within box to search for "civil procedure". You can search within that lis of papers for, say, "federal rules". And within that group, you could search for, say, "class action." All along you know that these are papers that the editors thought were about economic inequality and the law.

Subscribing to eJournals

To subscribe to an eJournal (or to change subscriptions you already have), click on Subscriptions at the top of the screen.

The University of Washington School of Law has an institutional subscription to all of the eJournals in the Legal Scholarship Network. If you are affiliated with UW Law, you can request access.

Regardless of your affiliation, you can purchase an individual subscription to one or more networks. Note that some networks, like the new Women's & Gender Studies Research Network, are free.

Most networks have a combination of some free and some fee-based eJournals. For instance, in the Legal Scholarship Network, you can subscribe to any of the law school eJournals free. (To subscribe to UW Law's eJournal, click here) Most of the subject-matter eJournals are fee-based. Anyone can subscribe to the LSN Professional Announcements and Job Postings free.

Here is SSRN's video on subscribing to eJournals:



Finding eJournals

You can find eJournals using the Browse list.

You can also find eJournals from abstracts. Suppose you find Challenging the 'Criminal Alien' Paradigm, by Angélica Cházaro and you'd like to follow the issues it discusses. Look at the Related eJournals on the right to see which eJournals (or eLibraries) included this paper. You might choose to subscribe to ("Follow") the Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Law eJournal. You could also visit the eLibrary and browse papers or search for a narrower topic.

screen snip Related eJournals