Days after a coalition of publishers declared that all attempts to work with scholarly collaboration network (SCN) ResearchGate to resolve the issue of copyright infringements had failed, Springer Nature and ResearchGate have declared themselves to be planning “co-operation”, and "cautiously optimistic" about the outcome.
Last Thursday (5th October) The Coalition for Responsible Sharing - which includes Elsevier, Wiley, Wolters Kluwer, The American Chemical Society and Brill - said that as many as seven million copyrighted articles (40% of ResearchGate’s total content) had been illegally published and that all attempts to work with the SCN to find ways for it "to run its service in a copyright-compliant way” had failed.
Coalition members had "no option" but to issue "millions" of takedown notices, the Coalition said in a statement.
"Sending large numbers of takedown notices on an ongoing basis will prove highly disruptive to the research community," it said. "...our measures are not directed at researchers, but at ResearchGate, a for-profit company funded by commercial investors and venture capital.”
Elsevier and the American Chemical Society have also sued ResearchGate for copyright infringement.
However a brief joint statement from Springer Nature and ResearchGate today (9th October) showed the science publisher to be taking a different line.
“ResearchGate and Springer Nature have been in serious discussions for some time about finding solutions to sharing scientific journal articles online, while at the same time protecting intellectual property rights,” said the statement. “The companies are cautiously optimistic that a solution can be found, and we invite other publishers and societies to join the talks."
Spokespeople for Springer Nature and ResearchGate declined to comment further on the development.
Springer Nature has developed its own content sharing initiative, which it expanded across all its journals last year. At the time the publisher said it was planning "additional steps to further extend sharing options which address the long-term needs of the research community".