Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A tenured colleague elsewhere asks: "What about this issue of posting articles on SSRN pre-offer or pre-publication in a review. Good practice or bad for junior people? "
Here's what I typically tell junior faculty: do not post anything on SSRN (or anywhere else on the web) until it's an essentially penultimate draft. Junior people, not being 'known' quantities, don't have the luxury of posting material in rough draft with the expectation that even if it's not so good, readers will come back for more. The nightmare scenario for untenured faculty is to put an unrepresentative and mediocre piece of work on SSRN, have folks in your field look at it, and conclude, "This guy/gal is a lightweight, not worth my time anymore." The psychological literature makes clear that first impressions are very sticky, and a junior faculty member wants the first impression of other scholars to be favorable.
So, in sum, I think it's fine to post something on SSRN before it is accepted for publication, but only post it if it's been vetted by colleagues, revised, and polished. Put your best foot forward, not your rough draft.
Thoughts from readers? Signed comments only.