Did ResearchGate Take Your Article Down?

When publishers find a copyright violation on a website and also want to enforce their intellectual property rights, they sometimes send copyright violation notifications to website owners. If the website owners do not have permission or rights and do not take the content down, they could face legal fees for the violations. That’s what recently happened at ResearchGate (RG)—a widely used academic social networking site. Two large, for-profit publishing companies (Elsevier and ACS) sent a pile of copyright takedown notices to ResearchGate. They have sent similar notices in the past to Academia.edu and even to faculty and lab websites. In recent action, these notices removed over 200,000 files from ResearchGate alone.RG icon canceled

Authors are often outraged at the publisher or at ResearchGate or both for the takedowns—it can feel like an assault on a person’s intellectual freedom and, of course, many feel like the article or chapter that they authored is “their” work—forgetting, perhaps, that they gave exclusive rights to the publisher in a contract.

If you are an IUPUI author that is annoyed that their article was or might be scraped off ResearchGate (or any other site), here are somethings to consider:

  1. ResearchGate is not a repository; it’s a for-profit social network for academics.
  2. IUPUI ScholarWorks (a non-profit, institutional repository) is approaching 25,000 items and has never received a copyright takedown notice from a publisher. At IUPUI ScholarWorks the libraries work within copyrights to make scholarship open access (OA).
  3. A micro-analysis I completed a few years ago comparing downloads of my works posted on both RG and IUPUI ScholarWorks, found that the institutional repository outperforms RG for readers by 84%.
  4. IUPUI authors have retained their copyrights in the IUPUI Open Access Policy to their scholarly articles and can make the accepted manuscript open access in IUPUI ScholarWorks without paying article processing charges (APCs).
  5. We found that IU School of Medicine authors that make their accepted manuscripts OA in IUPUI ScholarWorks get a 63% citation bump.
  6. Since the day that it was adopted by the faculty council (Oct. 7, 2014), the IUPUI OA policy has made close to 14,000 articles free to read on IUPUI ScholarWorks. These have been downloaded 2.6 million times by readers from around the world … and, again, with ZERO copyright complaints from publishers.

If you have a ResearchGate or Academia.edu account … that’s fine, I have both. I don’t use them much, but they do send me a lot of emails trying to get me to login. My user data (along with everyone else’s) is a huge part of their business model. Maybe you will find them useful for social networking, but your library provides you with a better tool for open access sharing.

Jere Odell
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Blog Categories: 
Digital Scholarship Blogs
Updated Sep 24, 2021 by Scholarly Communication Librarian