I use SSRN extensively in my work. From time to time, I even use SSRN to find my own papers. (Sometimes (often), it's just much easier for me to go on my own research page and click on the SSRN link than search through my directory)

I think as a result of this and my regular downloads of other people's papers, SSRN has flagged me as a user with an "unusual download pattern":

What Happened?

We have observed an unusual download pattern.

The reason why this might happen:

Accessing through a proxy server
Having problems downloading a paper
Accidentally downloading a paper too frequently

Please consider signing in or creating a free account. You can continue downloading this paper and you will no longer see this page. It also helps us track reader interest and provide accurate download counts to our authors and readers.

As explained above, I am not "accidentally downloading a paper too frequently", I am rather purposefully doing so.

I would like to keep using SSRN without having to sign in.

  • Has anyone encountered the same problem and found a solution to keep using SSRN "anonymously"?
    • I've tried using other browsers, including "brand new" browsers that I just downloaded and installed, to no avail.
    • If that did not work, would something like clearing my cookies help at all (are cookies browser specific?)?
  • 1
    Cookies are browser specific, yes, so it's probably IP-address based. (You could also try your browser's "private browsing" mode for a similar effect.) It seems clear that they don't want people to anonymously use the service the way you are. If you try and circumvent it, you're probably just asking for a harder ban and/or having them complain to your ISP. Apr 18, 2018 at 21:40
  • 2
    Why don't you want to sign into a free account? Apr 19, 2018 at 1:27
  • I guess my main concern is saving the couple of seconds needed to login. But that may be faster than any attempt to circumvent the flag. I might also have a minor privacy concern. When they say their goal for pushing people to login is to "helps [them] track reader interest", I cannot help but wonder what they plan on doing with that information, once they have "tracked my interest" (especially since SSRN was recently bought by Elsevier, which I am somehow more suspicious of than the "Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc." that used to run SSRN). Apr 19, 2018 at 5:22
  • Time it takes to log in -- why not set up your browser to remember your username and password? // Why don't you create a throwaway account for this purpose? Apr 20, 2018 at 4:07

1 Answer 1


Such sites often have measures against crawlers. Sometimes normal users can trigger them. For example some university institutes which have a single IP address for everybody at the institute can even get blocked permanently until someone mails the site admin and explains the situation, which may get the IP whitelisted.

When it is triggered by you alone, probably the best choice is either to slow down and wait a bit between requesting stuff, reconnect your internet connection to get a new IP, or to accept the suggested solution and use a free account to prove them you're human and not a crawler.

Such blocks are most the time IP based. If cookies help you at all, you should NOT delete them, so the site can track you as individual user.

If deleting cookies would help, crawlers would just delete them (or not store them at all), so the site would have no benefit to allow access after you deleted the cookies. If changing the user agent would help, crawlers would just randomize the user agent string. So you can be pretty sure, that such things will not help you.

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