Article Sharing Framework

A Framework for Responsible Sharing

Debates are taking place globally as to what role platforms should take with regards to the content they offer or host. In the EU, a first step to regulate this environment was taken with the 2019 EU Digital Single Market Directive (“DSM”). This new piece of legislation and specifically  Article 17, presents an opportunity for platforms and the publishing industry to work together to enable the appropriate use of protected content and to ensure an improved experience for platform users.

Article 17 confirms platforms are liable for the content they host unless they receive authorization from the publisher. This could be, for instance through a license or by ensuring the unavailability of protected works. Meanwhile, publishers are obliged to make available “the necessary and relevant information”.

In 2019 STM assembled a working group to develop the necessary technical processes to implement these new obligations, in order to enable platforms to swiftly identify the content and respective policies to make sharing decisions in real-time using technology. These technical processes are described in the Article Sharing Framework, which enables the simple and seamless sharing of content in manners that are consistent with publisher policies.

All relevant information concerning the Article Sharing Framework can be found on this site.

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Article Sharing Framework – explained

An STM working group has devised the technical processes that enable content sharing in ways that are simple and seamless, yet consistent with publisher policies. These processes – which leverage existing industry technologies and infrastructure – are to be applied as described within the Article Sharing Framework.

The Article Sharing Framework relies on metadata embedded in the content and Crossref to enable the speedy identification of the article, the article version, and the associated sharing policies.

More specifically, publishers embed the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and Journal Article Version (JAV) in the PDF content. They also deposit sharing policy identifiers with Crossref. As part of this, publishers agree to use a defined set of common sharing policies. Each sharing policy will, in turn, be assigned with a unique, persistent identifier that points to a human-readable version of the policy hosted on this website.

The sharing policies may vary depending on the version of the document, the scope of the sharing and, according to whether or not the platform has signed and is compliant with the STM Voluntary Principles for Article Sharing. The Article Sharing Framework is the next logical step for parties who have endorsed these sharing principles – however, endorsement is is not a prerequisite for platforms to pick up and use the Framework.

Platforms, in turn, extract embedded metadata in the content and utilise Crossref to determine content shareability automatically and in real-time. The below diagram describes the activities:


Three major features of the Article Sharing Framework:

  1. It provides publishers the flexibility to update their policies over time, as they will not be permanently embedded in previously downloaded content itself.
  2. It provides platforms a means to automatically determine content shareability and in real-time using technology.
  3. It uses “machine identifiable” instead of “machine readable” sharing policies, which greatly simplifies implementation for both publishers and for platforms.


Publisher requirements for adopting the Article Sharing Framework

Publishers wishing to enable platforms to host content in line with their sharing policies are expected to:

  1. Embed the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in the article PDF in machine-actionable form
  2. Embed the Journal Article Version (JAV) details in the article PDF in machine-actionable form
  3. Register the sharing policy identifiers in Crossref metadata in an ALI element using the defined sharing policy identifier

On 3, publishers agree to a defined set of common sharing policies, so that platforms can automatically implement the information. A total of 48 policy types have been defined, which allow flexibility for publishers to set a wide range of policies, including the ability to apply different policies for accepted manuscripts and the version of record, or for sharing publicly versus sharing within collaborative research groups.

Platform requirements for adopting the Article Sharing Framework

Platforms wishing to host content in accordance with publisher-sharing policies are expected to:

  1. Examine uploaded content for embedded, machine-actionable DOIs and JAV version strings.
  2. Lookup the metadata for the respective DOI using the Crossref Application Programming Interface (API)
  3. Extract the sharing policy identifiers relevant to the JAV version embedded in the content.
  4. Enforce the rules defined in the identified sharing policy.
  5. If JAV and DOI are not available in machine-readable form, platforms should attempt to identify the article DOI and version themselves.

Two comments:

  • In order to encourage platforms to implement and utilize the Framework, STM prepared this protocol.
  • Platforms seeking information on and/or wanting to endorse the STM Voluntary Principles for Article Sharing, please visit Again, sign-up and compliance with the Principles is not a prerequisite for using the Article Sharing Framework.

Publisher Implementation Testimonials & Tips 

Additional documentation
Article Sharing Framework – Integration Guide for Platforms and Publishers
Article Sharing Framework – Policy Indicator Information

Article Sharing Framework – Workshop 14th February 2023
Article Sharing Framework – Workshop 14th March 2023
Article Sharing Framework – Workshop 11th April 2023
Article Sharing Framework – Workshop 9th May 2023
Article Sharing Framework – Workshop 13th June 2023

Introduction to Article 17
Introduction to the Article Sharing Framework
Implementation of the Article Sharing Framework

Article Sharing Framework recording from the 25th May 2021 webinar
Article Sharing Framework recording from the 6th July 2021 Workshop

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of FAQs to provide additional context about the Article Sharing Framework

Content in Article Sharing Framework