It’s an issue that’s been rolling on for a while, but now ResearchGate and a group of academic publishing companies have reached an agreement around protecting the copyright of authors and publishers whose journal articles are made freely available online.
ResearchGate, which has 15 million users, says its mission is “to connect the world of science and make research open to all”. The site aims to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration between researchers and has been described as “Facebook for scientists”. Users can upload their published journal articles to the site to share them with other scientists, but some in the industry have aired concerns that authors don’t always understand when they are free to do so, or when such sharing would infringe an existing copyright agreement with the original publisher.
Last month, ResearchGate and the publishers Springer Nature, Cambridge University Press and Thieme announced that they will work together “on the sharing of articles on the scholarly collaboration platform in a way that protects the rights of authors and publishers.” The collaboration will include:
- cooperation to educate users on copyright-related issues
- continued prompt removal of any content that infringes copyright
- increased visibility by publishers of any content originally published in their journal and now available on ResearchGate.
While this agreement is welcomed by all parties, other publishers continue to challenge ResearchGate in the courts.