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I recently submitted an article to an Elsevier journal X. The article was consider out-of-scope, so I re-submitted it to another Elsevier journal Y (via article transfer). Thus, the article is currently under review in journal Y. However, a few days after re-submission, I was surprised to receive the following email from SSRN (Social Science Research Network):

We are happy to have received your submission, [Article Title], for inclusion on SSRN, an open platform for the sharing of early stage research. The following URL links to your abstract page on SSRN.

And now in SSRN, there is a URL pointing directly to the abstract as well as a downloadable PDF of my paper! To make it clear, I have never submitted my article, nor abstract to SSRN. Additionally:

  • On the SSRN page, it is noted that "This is a preprint article, it offers immediate access but has not been peer reviewed."
  • The available PDF does mention Submitted to Journal Y.

What is the meaning of this? I agreed that I would not submit my paper elsewhere during the paper submission to Elsevier journal Y. Do I now have to take any actions e.g., ask Elsevier if this creates a conflict/plagiarism or ask SSRN to remove the preprint?

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    From a quick glance at the Wikipedia entry for SSRN, they were bought by Elsevier in 2016. So it is most likely that Elsevier put the article there themselves - not that this is ok without asking - but it should at least take the plagiarism concern of the table.
    – Sursula
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:46
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    Could it be that you accidentally ticked (or unticked) a box giving permission to also share the article on SSRN while submitting the article?
    – Sursula
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:47
  • It is possible, I will have to check the submission platform.
    – Enk9456
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:52
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    Yes, there is a text box exactly as you have described it. Most likely I gave permission myself.
    – Enk9456
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 12:57
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    Most journals in my field accept articles that have been put online as pre-prints.
    – Dawn
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 13:53

2 Answers 2

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Most likely there was a checkbox like "I agree that my paper will be shared on SSRN while being under review" that you did not untick. Maybe check the submission system if you can find the submission details.

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    The publishers have made the submission process so much more complicated that it it feels like they are trying to get us to accidentally use their preprint servers. I would not be surprised to find the default setting is pushing this, as you say. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 18:38
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Yes: You tell them if you want this (very nice!) service at the time of submission. it then gets pushed up to ssrn as a pdf once it is under review. If accepted, a link noting this is added by Elsevier to let people go to the accepted version e.g., https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4399231

Dialog showing opt-in to free preprint service:

Dialog showing opt-in to free preprint service

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