Springer Nature has started sharing articles from its journals on academic-networking site ResearchGate in a pilot scheme.
Full-text pieces from 22 journals, including Nature, dating back to November 2017 will be uploaded to their author’s and the journals' own profiles on Berlin-based ResearchGate until 7th March.
Springer Nature said the pilot would enable easier access to its articles, help authors collaborate using the network and allow them to measure the impact of their work.
Lasting at least three months, the organisations want to gather feedback from scientists and institutions about how the pilot scheme works or whether it can be improved.
ResearchGate has previously run into trouble from publishers including Elsevier, Wiley, Wolters Kluwer, The American Chemical Society and Brill who issued takedown notices, claiming it was sharing up to seven million copyrighted articles without permission. A number of journal publishers also launched legal proceedings against the site.
Springer Nature and ResearchGate reached agreement, along with CUP and Thieme, on sharing articles in April 2018 in a way that would offer protection to author and publisher rights.
As part of the agreement, ResearchGate said it would cooperate with publishers in educating users about their rights on copyright-protected content, providing better information about when they may share their journal articles on the network. ResearchGate said it would also continue to promptly remove copyright-infringing content when alerted by publishers.
Steven Inchcoombe, chief publishing officer at Springer Nature, said: “We are committed to finding new ways to help researchers advance discovery. Being able to access and collaborate on research is fundamental to this and it is important for us to enable this to happen on the platforms used by researchers and authors.
“It is early days, but we are very excited about this first pilot with ResearchGate which will see us explore new ways for researchers to share content to deliver a better experience for the scientific community which ResearchGate and Springer Nature both serve.”
ResearchGate was set-up in 2008 and claims to have a network of 15 million scientific researchers worldwide, making it the most visited site in the field. ResearchGate c.e.o, Ijad Madisch, said the new collaboration could be the start of many.
He said: “Collaboration is key for science. Scientists need to work together to drive progress and they need access to each other’s findings to build on them together. We’re looking forward to working with more industry partners with complementary capabilities and strengths like Springer Nature in the future to create the conditions in which scientific collaborations can flourish.”
ResearchGate said the new project aimed to become "a permanent model for the industry" and it is already in talks with other publishers.