CrimRxiv’s mission is utilitarian: to promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number.1 Everyone benefits from open access to scholarship.2 It increases authors’ impact and, by extension, that of their institutions, funders, and the field as a whole. Also, it ensures anyone can read and use scholarship. This is social justice.
CrimRxiv is like no other repository for sharing criminological papers. Prominent alternatives include OSF Preprints, SocArXiv (which is part of OSF), Zenodo, and institutional repositories. All are great places to provide and find works via search (e.g., by Google Scholar). However, they are not good places for people to browse criminology. They are too general in scope, or define criminology too narrowly, to peruse papers in the field. For that, you need a field-specific repository.
CrimRxiv provides a place for the free and public sharing—giving and taking—of criminological information, knowledge, and understanding.3 It is the only repository devoted to criminology: the scientific or humanistic study of lawmaking, lawbreaking, and reacting to that.
The dream is that one day, criminologists have the daily habit of browsing recent deposits in CrimRxiv. By scrolling through titles, we will learn what everyone is working on, which will spur ideas, projects, collaborations, news stories, public and classroom discussion. We will enable everyone to consume criminology, no matter what they can afford. And by depositing our works, we will increase our impact, amassing more views, downloads, cites, and altmetrics.4
“More” is possible on CrimRxiv because it allows, unlike the alternatives, to embed anything in Pubs.5 For example, in a preprint you can include videos, audio clips, images, datasets, code files, interactive graphics, whatever. This is revolutionary in criminology and will change how we disseminate, consume, and do research. (Read more about that on various How To pages.)
Finally, CrimRxiv is the only repository to offer authors an Individual Open Access License. This solves a problem: Some publishers limit when and where you can make a postprint open access. By signing the license, you preempt this restraint and thereby make it legal to immediately share your postprints on CrimRxiv.
CrimRxiv is supported by Criminology Open (Ltd). Its director, Scott Jacques, established CrimRxiv’s Board of Directors in June 2019. This group’s expertise is in open science and cyber infrastructure. In July 2020, CrimRxiv was released in “beta mode,” during which “Beta Testers” submitted their work and provided feedback to use in further improving the site.6 In April 2021, we established a Board of Ambassadors. Indeed, everyone who uses CrimRxiv is “who we are.” Currently, we are partnering with various groups to establish “Hosted Collections”; details to come, but an example is here. We always want to improve the website, so we welcome emails or tweets with feedback and suggestions.