Menu

ResearchGate Restricts Access to Nearly 2 Million Articles

The academic social network is bending to pressure from publishing giants that demand it removes copyrighted material from its site.

Nov 9, 2017
Catherine Offord

ISTOCK, PERE_RUBIClarification (November 10): The 1.7 million figure cited in this article was first published on Twitter on November 1 by Nature's Richard Van Noorden following a phone conversation with CRS spokesman James Milne. This figure was also cited by Nature on November 8.

The academic social network ResearchGate has taken moves to restrict access to at least 1.7 million scholarly articles following threats of legal action by a coalition of publishers including Elsevier and the American Chemical Society (ACS), Times Higher Education reports today (November 9). The change, which follows months of conflict between the organizations, means that papers once freely available to download now have to be requested directly from their authors.

“ResearchGate’s primary service is taking high-quality content written and published by others and making as many as 7 million copyrighted articles—40% of its total content—freely available via its for-profit platform,” the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, a collaboration formed between ACS, Brill, Elsevier, Wiley, and Wolters Kluwer, writes in a statement published on October 5. “Numerous attempts to agree with ResearchGate on amicable solutions . . . remained unsuccessful. Members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing are therefore now resorting to formal means to alter ResearchGate’s damaging practices.”

See “American Chemical Society Wins Lawsuit Against Sci-Hub

On October 6, two of the Coalition’s members—Elsevier and ACS—filed a lawsuit in Germany to prevent the Berlin-based paper-sharing site from hosting copyrighted material in the future. Around the same time, an initial batch of “take-down notices” was sent to the network demanding the removal of around 100,000 articles. In the longer term, “the expectation is that ResearchGate will be told by the courts to cease certain behaviours,” Coalition spokesman James Milne told Nature at the time. “This could take months or years.”

ResearchGate’s decision to remove access to nearly 2 million articles is a “positive step,” Milne now tells Times Higher Education. However, he adds, the network has not gone far enough in preventing the papers being shared with people not closely related to the research itself. “If they were really [serious about our demands] they would identify which papers are under copyright and make sure that those only stay in private sharing networks.”

The dispute with ResearchGate is just the latest in a series of actions by academic publishers against websites and social networks that make copyrighted academic articles freely available to users. In 2013, Elsevier sent another paper-sharing site, Academia.edu, around 2,800 take-down notices in a single month. And earlier this week, a US judge issued an injunction that allows ACS to demand that Internet service providers block access to pirate site Sci-Hub, which hosts more than 60 million research articles.

See “Authors Peeved by APA’s Article Takedown Pilot” 

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.