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The Coalition for Responsible Sharing (CfRS) was formed in October 2017 by a group of society, not-for-profit and commercial publishers and information analytics businesses to engage with article-sharing platforms and scholarly collaboration networks which undertake, contribute to or otherwise allow or encourage unauthorized posting of publishers’ copyrighted content.

The illicit dissemination of copyright-protected articles undermines the scholarly communication ecosystem and publishers’ ability to support it. It damages publishers’ capacity to provide the services and tools which ensure current high levels of discovery, quality and dissemination of scholarly research, most notably by destabilizing the publications services that researchers value: certifying that they are the first to make a novel and important contribution to research, confirming the validity of their research through peer review, ensuring their research remains discoverable and accessible in perpetuity, guaranteeing researchers are credited for the impact of their research, providing access to linked high quality information such as supporting information and research data, and managing corrections and retractions.

Due to the size and scope of the infringement occurring on its content-sharing platform, scholarly collaboration network ResearchGate has been the initial focus of the CfRS. Since the CfRS’s formation in October 2017, the group has taken multiple steps to address the illicit dissemination of enormous amounts of published journal articles on ResearchGate’s site. Before that, several attempts to work jointly with ResearchGate to find ways for ResearchGate to run its service in a copyright-compliant way were unsuccessful.

While ResearchGate has rejected all proposed solutions from the CfRS to date, its members remain hopeful that a solution, which is in the interest of all stakeholders and consistent with access and usage rights, can be found.