Built and maintained at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, the disciplinary repository SSOAR (Social Science Open Access Repository) bundles electronic scholarly publications and makes them available to the social scientific research community in accordance with the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Scientific Information globally and in the internet.

A team of permanently employed scientists, software developers and librarians runs SSOAR with the aim, to develop it into the central archive for the secondary publication of digital publications for social science research in Germany. To this end, we are keen to develop a distinct substantive profile and to delimit our scope from that of other disciplinary full-text repositories – especially EconStor and pedocs. At the same time, our efforts are directed towards extending our existing collaborations with editors, publishers, and research institutions and developing interesting cooperation models. However, a further major focus of our efforts is the optimisation and expansion of the functions of a repository with regard to digital publishing and archiving, Linked Open Data, altmetrics, etc.


As a disciplinary repository for the social sciences, SSOAR publishes discipline-relevant scholarly contributions from the social sciences – in particular, sociology and political sciences and their methods, social policy, social psychology, population research, historical social research, employment research, and the communication sciences. As a rule, German- and English-language publications can be archived in SSOAR. Decisions to include publications from the peripheral areas of the aforementioned disciplines, or publications in other languages, are made on request on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, important metadata (e.g., abstract and keywords) must be provided in German and English.

SSOAR primarily pursues the so-called “Green Road to Open Access” and sees itself as a secondary publisher of literature that has already undergone quality control elsewhere. We publish preprints, postprints, and publishers’ versions of published works. However, SSOAR can also be used to publish works for the first time, provided the works in question fulfil recognised scientific quality criteria. As works submitted to SSOAR do not undergo editorial review, such primary publications are identified via the metadata as a “non-peer-reviewed” primary publication.

The following document types can be archived and made available to the public in SSOAR:

  • • Journal articles and contributions to edited volumes
  • • Contributions to working papers; working paper series (grey literature)
  • • Monographs and edited volumes
  • • Theses and dissertations

To enable us to provide permanently good service and to archive the full texts on a long-term basis, they should be submitted in PDF format only. The PDF may not be protected by a password, nor should it be subject to any further security restrictions. Moreover, all fonts must be embedded. It is best to use standard fonts and to specify the language in the document properties.

Making Documents Available in Open Access

To ensure that publications have high findability and rank higher in search engine queries, they are catalouged and indexed. When you self-archive a work in SSOAR, you can choose controlled keywords from the thesaurus for the social sciences TheSoz or assign keywords yourself. You are strongly advised to include an abstract. In addition, each publication is classified by the SSOAR team using the Social Science Classification.

To further enhance the visibility of the full texts on the Internet, the metadata are made available to Open Archives Initiative (OAI) service providers such as the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE), OAIster and other portals, for example the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library) and the Leibniz Association’s bibliographic database LeibnizOpen. The same applies to the indexing of SSOAR in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and the Open Access Netzwerk (OAN). SSOAR also is OpenAIRE-compliant and publications from EU-funding will be indexed there too showing their funding number for easy reference.

All metadata are made available under a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) licence and can be harvested via the standardised OAI-PMH web interface and used freely without any restrictions.

To guarantee permanent access and unique referencing and citation, each full text is assigned a URN (Uniform Resource Name), which is a persistent identifier (PID) comparable to an electronic ISBN or ISSN. In collaboration with the German National Library, we are working on the long-term archiving of the full texts so that they will continue to be freely searchable online via SSOAR in the future. However, that means in turn that, once published, the texts cannot be deleted by the depositor. At the express request of the author or the right holder, and where important, legal grounds exist, access to the full text will be deactivated by the SSOAR team. However, the corresponding metadata set will continue to be accessible via the URN in order to ensure stable linking.

In the case of full texts that are already archived at another location (e.g., another repository) with a PID – that is, a digital object identifier (DOI) a URN, or a handle – we usually reference only the metadata and provide a link to the corresponding full text via the PID.

Every full text archived in SSOAR is preceded by a cover page that features the main metadata, the citation information, and the licence/terms and conditions of use for the end user. We recommend that, where possible, works should be made available under a CC-BY licence.

SSOAR enables publications to be versioned. Thus, not only revised versions, but also, and in particular, versions published as a follow-up to a preprint or postprint can be published as a new version. The previous version remains accessible via the URN. A content search via search engines or directly in SSOAR refers to the latest version, whose metadata contains a reference to the previous version, and vice versa.

Terms of Use Agreements and Services

When a document is published in SSOAR, GESIS, as the operator of the repository, is granted a non-exclusive right of use in the work in accordance with copyright law. This allows GESIS to store the full text, to make it available to the public for online use (to view, download, and print), and to convert it to other data formats for the purpose of long-term archiving. Moreover, via the terms of use agreement or the cooperation agreement, GESIS is granted the right to use the full text for the purpose of information science research and text- and data mining activities. We do this in order to continuously optimise our services and, for example, to link full texts to underlying research data sets (i.e., data sets that are cited in the text itself and are available in open access). As we modify the terms of use agreement as required, we recommend users who publish their work in SSOAR to take note of the regularly updated version.

Anyone who submits documents for publication in SSOAR (via self-archiving or bulk deposit) is personally responsible for ensuring that the provision of open access to the works in SSOAR does not violate any rights of third parties (especially copyrights or rights of use). The making available of a publication in SSOAR does not preclude further publication of the work in print media or on other document servers.

If the work is to be published in SSOAR, the depositor specifies in the licence granted how the full text may be used by the end user.

Release by the SSOAR Team

Before the publications are made freely accessible to the public on the Internet, the metadata are checked by the SSOAR team and are supplemented with a classification and, if necessary, with further information. The work is then released. The moment your work is released, you will receive an email from us with the personalised licence and a stable, citable link to your publication.

The SSOAR team reserves the right to make the final decision on whether the full texts submitted should be published.


Through the relevant statistic core a standardized query of the solr-index generates out of the respository software DSpace a monthly usage statistics (pageviews and downloads) which is shown on the frontpage per Dataset, per indexed full text.

Withdrawl of full texts

GESIS has the right out of its own account or on behalf of an request by the archiving author or institution to block the access to the full text if either the author claims her or his rights persuant to §42 UrhG (right to recall a publication for reasons of a change in opinion or violation of her or his rights, the rights or third parties) or if other third partie's rights are violated. To do that the full text will not be deleted since it has recieved a PID in the publication process and might thus have been used and cited already. Metadata and the access  to the metadata frontpage will remain findable and accessible in SSOAR. Alone the access to the publication, the full text itself will be blocked with a transparent hint that this was done and why.

Accessibility of full texts

GESIS guarantees that content published on SSOAR will be archived for at least five years.