Three academic publishers – Springer Nature, Cambridge University Press and Thieme – have reached an agreement with ResearchGate to work together on the sharing of articles.
The announcement comes after a coalition of publishers – including Elsevier, Wiley, Wolters Kluwer, The American Chemical Society and Brill –issued “millions” of takedown notices to ResearchGate, accusing it of sharing as many as seven million copyrighted articles (40% of ResearchGate’s total content) illegally. Elsevier and the American Chemical Society have also sued ResearchGate for copyright infringement.
However, six months ago, Springer Nature and ResearchGate declared themselves to be planning “co-operation” and to be “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome.
On Thursday (19th April), the two companies, along with CUP and Thieme, announced they had agreed to work together on the sharing of articles on the scholarly collaboration platform “in a way that protects the rights of authors and publishers”.
As part of the agreement, ResearchGate and publishers will cooperate in educating users about their rights in relation to copyright-protected content by providing them with better information about how and when they may share their journal articles on the network. ResearchGate will also continue to promptly remove copyright-infringing content when alerted by publishers and in return, publishers will get better visibility into the usage of new content on the platform which was originally published in their journals.
“This agreement is the culmination of discussions between publishers and ResearchGate announced last autumn,” the companies said. “ It shows that cooperation on the sharing of publisher content can be found and demonstrates the commitment from all parties to ensuring researchers are able to access and share high quality scholarly research responsibly.”
Steven Inchcoombe, chief publishing officer for Springer Nature, said: “At Springer Nature we support content sharing between researchers. We want the research we publish to be discovered, accessed, understood, used, re-used and shared, so it can be used as a springboard for new discoveries. With its 15 million users, ResearchGate is an important partner for us to help facilitate such sharing.”
Ijad Madisch, co-founder and c.e.o. of ResearchGate, added: “For us at ResearchGate, Open Science is about more than just sharing research. It’s about discussing this research and facilitating collaborations that drive progress. That’s why we’re excited about Springer Nature’s participation in our agreement with scientific publishers.
“A highly respected publisher, and one of the largest, Springer Nature’s journals are where many of the researchers on our network publish their work. Together with Springer Nature, we’re looking forward to providing researchers with more clarity into what can be shared on the network, as they work to advance scientific discovery.”