Preprint Archives for Linguists


A list of various preprint archives that publish (exclusively or not) linguistics articles. My intention to keep this up-to-date as I encounter new preprint archives.


Introduction

Technology of all sorts has seen growing use by linguists of all orientations. But linguistics has split from humanities rather recently, and we’re not on par even with other social scientific disciplines with regard to use of technology, let alone STEM disciplines. That shows especially in the software services we use for dissemination of our work: for example, we have nothing on par with arXiv, for example. Still, there is a growing number of utilities that we can use. But they are all dispersed on the world wide web, underutilised, unrecognised, and underappreciated. One of the most useful type of such utilities/services for researchers is the preprint archive, repositories of preprint versions of research papers, made available freely by the authors. Sadly, we don’t have a single, canonical place to go for all linguistics papers. arXiv is a big, exhaustive repo for many STEM fields. If you’re looking for a computer science paper, you can expect to find it there. If you’re looking for a paper in linguistics, it’s nowhere near as straightforward.

What follows is a hand-picked list of preprint archives for linguistics papers, made with the hope that it can simplify the process of searching for linguistics preprints. Not all of these are exclusively dedicated to linguistics, though.

I intend to keep this list up-to-date, so don’t hesitate to contact me via e-mail or mastodon for suggesting improvements, additions, and for pointing out any errors.

The List

Tabular comparison of the above

The table is sorted based on a simple accumulative grading system plus an alphanumeric tie-breaker:

  1. Scope: 2 if general purpose, 1 if not general purpose
  2. Metadata: 2, if available; 1, if scarce; 0, if unavailable
  3. Citation exports: 2, if available; 0, if not
  4. Moderation: 2, if available; 1, if not; 0, if unclear
  5. Chronological Front Page: 2, if available and default; 1, if option available but not default; 0, if no option and not default
  6. RSS/Atom Feeds: 2, if available; 0, if not
  7. Search: 3, if full-text available; 2, if metadata only; 1, if full-text unclear or Google site search; 0, if no search
  8. Recently active: 4, if yes; 1, if not substantial; 0, if no
  9. Alphabetically ascending sort if tie

Hover the numbers under the ‘Points’ column to see the individual grades.

Name & Link Scope Metadata Citation exports Moderation Chronological Front Page RSS/Atom Feeds Search Recently active? Points
cs.CL Computational Linguistics Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Full text Yes 16
SSOAR Social Sciences, Literature and Linguistics Yes Yes Not really Option available No Available, unclear if full-text Yes 13
OSF Preprints General, General Linguistics Yes Yes, behind terrible UI Unclear, possibly instance-dependent Yes-ish, when you browse tags No Available, unclear if full-text Yes 12
LingBuzz General Linguistics Scarce No Unclear No No Metadata Yes 9
Semantics Archive Semantics (Linguistic, Philosophical) Very scarce No Unclear, seemingly absent Yes (behind link) No Google site search Yes 9
ROA Optimality Theory Scarce No No Yes No Google site search Yes 8
viXra General, General linguistics Scarce No No Yes No Google site search Not substantial 8
Cogprints Cognitive Science, General Linguistics Yes Yes Unclear No No No No 6

Conclusions

The preprint sources available to linguists are numerous, but not rich. There is no central location for accessing linguistics papers, whether it’s a metasearch engine or a general purpose well-organised feature-complete preprint archive for the field like arXiv. LingBuzz is lively and relevant, but one needs to manually check the front page and remember what they already checked in order to make use of it. OSF Preprints is promising, but its UX is a failure and there is no specific instance for linguistics. viXra has a section for linguistics, but there isn’t much useful stuff in there. Cogprints also has a general linguistics section but it’s stagnant and the website itself is hard to use. The rest of the options cater to specific subdisciplines and interdisciplinary practices.

IMHO, creating a serious arXiv clone for Linguistics, Sociology and Cognitive Science is necessary. I don’t know if it’s a feasible task to retroactively collect preprints into such a central resource, but even if that was not done, a central place to go to for most recent stuff in our discipline, with metadata, citations, preprints available, with decent moderation and sustainable funding would make a lot of difference. LingBuzz is good, but merely a quarter of that, unfortunately.