Research communications platform Kudos is to run a pilot programme aimed at helping find ways to tackle the issue of copyright infringement on scholarly collaboration networks (SCNs) while still embracing academics' wish to increase the visibility of their work.
The problem of researchers posting the full texts of their work on SCNs such as ResearchGate and Academic.edu when they do not have the copyright permission to do so is an ongoing issue for the academic publishing industry.
MIT Press, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the American Thoracic Society are among the first publishers partnering with Kudos on the pilot, which will make use of a new technology to allow authors to embed the plain language summaries of their research held on Kudos onto other websites, including SCNs, without infringing copyright. Publishers will also be able to track the usage of the summaries, so that authors, institutions and funders get a full picture of the interest in a researcher's work.
The pilot will also offer a variety of options for people who find one of these research summaries and then want to go on to access the researcher's full text. These will include an option of linking to read-only enhanced PDFs provided through a new partnership with Digital Science tech company ReadCube. Kudos product director David Sommer said: "We will offer five or six different options - toll-free links, links to publisher sites with free access for the first x clickthroughs, or offering the access but with a time-based restriction. We'll look at the uptake of each of those channels and the feedback we get, and then we'll be happy to report back [on which work best]."
Kudos sales and marketing director Charlie Rapple described the new solution as "an exciting step forward in terms of tackling this major industry challenge." She added: “From an industry perspective I think it’s exciting too that it shows the community coming together to partner on a shared solution rather than organisations trying to tackle it separately."
The International Association of STM Publishers has sought to establish clear content-sharing guidelines as a way to tackle the problem. Springer Nature has developed a content-sharing initiative.
Kudos's pilot will run to the end of 2017, with "a small number" of places on the scheme still available.