Copyright Compliance by ResearchGate Is the Only Viable Long-Term Solution

The members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing have always been clear that we embrace and actively encourage copyright compliant sharing of content by the research community. However, the commercial science platform ResearchGate continues to provide access to millions of research articles on its site without publisher’s permission in contravention of copyright agreements and does not take any appropriate measures to stop this illicit activity.

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Wiley announced that it will explore other possibilities to minimize the availability of copyright infringing articles on ResearchGate and made the decision to enter into an agreement with ResearchGate.

“We appreciate the support Wiley has put into the Coalition for Responsible Sharing over such a long time,” says James Milne, PhD, chair of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing and president, ACS Publications. “Members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing continue to believe the illicit posting and subsequent removal of infringing content on ResearchGate’s site is unsustainable and disruptive for the research community. Copyright-infringing content should not be made available on ResearchGate’s site at any time.”

To date, cooperation agreements proposed by ResearchGate do not address the Coalition for Responsible Sharing’s concerns. New copyright-infringing articles are constantly being added to the site, in addition to the millions of copyright-infringing articles it already illicitly distributes. An average of 130,000 articles have continued to be added to ResearchGate each month, approximately 45 percent of which infringe copyright. To date, Coalition for Responsible Sharing members have sent nearly 450,000 takedown notices to ResearchGate for copyright infringing content it distributes.

The Coalition for Responsible Sharing has offered ResearchGate an easy-to-use automated solution that would avoid copyrighted material from being made publicly available on its commercial platform without appropriate permission. This automated approach would make the takedown of articles by ResearchGate unnecessary – allowing researchers to confidently share articles in a seamless and consistent way. Unfortunately, ResearchGate has rejected this proposal.

* Issued 6 May, 2020 and signed by: American Chemical Society (chair), American Medical Association, American Physiological Society, American Society of Plant Biologists, Atlantis Press, BMJ, Brill, Elsevier, Future Science Group, IEEE, IWA Publishing, KeAi Publishing, Oxford University Press, Portland Press (wholly-owned by the Biochemical Society), Wolters Kluwer and World Scientific Publishing.