AI, preprints and SSRN – a new policy…

The sudden explosion of interest in AI technologies, and the power of generative AI in particular to create plausible academic writing is causing huge disruption as students, academics and institutions try to figure out how to respond.

SSRN is thinking through issues related to this new technology: authors have submitted papers to us that have been written with the assistance of AI tools, or even written entirely by AI. We’ve had some discussions about this and in response have articulated our AI policy and we hope to provide a clear framework for authors looking for guidance on the best way to incorporate AI into their research. This policy is in line with Elsevier’s Publishing Ethics for Editors Policy.

As a preprint repository SSRN is at the cutting edge of academic research and so has become a part of the conversation about new AI technologies. SSRN recently created an AI & GPT-3 Special Topic Hub to feature the many interesting papers on this topic and to give researchers easy access to the latest thinking on how best to use AI technology. According to Shirley Decker-Lucke, Content Director at SSRN, SSRN is a space for cutting edge thinkers to work through and share their research in all disciplines, and that of course includes the rapidly evolving area of Generative AI.  

“Our new FAQ offers our current thinking and guidelines on key aspects of authorship and this technology in the hopes that it will provide a framework for scholars who are grappling with Generative AI, how to use it, and its potential positive and negative implications,” said Decker-Lucke.

According to the new guidelines, authors should only use AI technologies to improve the readability and language of their work and not to replace key researcher or author tasks. These tasks include producing insights or theories, analysing and interpreting data, drawing conclusions, and presenting viewpoints. 

Applying AI technologies should be done with human oversight and control. Authors should carefully review and edit the output generated by AI technologies since they can produce authoritative-sounding output that can be incorrect, incomplete, or biased. Authors are ultimately responsible and accountable for the contents of their work.

In accordance with our commitment to greater transparency, SSRN requires that authors provide a disclosure statement within the paper detailing any use of AI technologies. Authors should not list AI and AI technologies as an author, nor should they cite AI as an author. These measures encourage research integrity and aim to uphold ethical standards. As always, SSRN reserves the right to remove papers that do not meet its content policies or violate standards of publication ethics and research integrity. 

SSRN welcomes the development of new technologies and looks forward to exploring this new wave of innovation while maintaining high levels of research integrity and clear guidance to authors, readers, contributors, and partners.


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