STM publishers and ResearchGate

The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) has written to ResearchGate, the scholarly collaboration network (SCN),to make an offer to work with the platform collaboratively to bring the site into compliance with copyright. It is with regret that the core proposal suggested in this letter has been rejected by ResearchGate.

Researchers have been sharing their research for as long as they have been undertaking it, first through writing letters to each other, through the development of scholarly journals, through inter-library loan and more recently through preprint servers and via email.  Online publication and delivery of journals has made it far easier for one researcher to share an article with another or with a research group.

For the last two years, following an industry-wide consultation in 2015, STM has been working on how it might facilitate the sharing of articles between researchers, in ways which meet the individual needs of researchers while enabling a vibrant and sustainable research ecosystem.  This resulted in the Voluntary Principles for Article Sharing on Scholarly Collaboration Networks(SCNs) which have subsequently been endorsed by more than fifty organisations including SCNs, learned societies, publishing service providers and scholarly publishers. STM has also launched the website How Can I Share it? which provides accurate information and practical tools to assist with the sharing of subscription articles.  Beyond these industry-wide initiatives individual publishers are experimenting with innovative solutions which extend access to articles beyond users at subscribing institutions, and all publishers are increasing the number of articles they publish on a gold open access basis.  In compliance with the Voluntary Principles, some SCNs are hosting large numbers of in-copyright articles but making them accessible only to their authors and co-authors and within their private research groups, with the full support of publishers.

STM believes that publishers and SCNs can and should co-exist to the mutual benefit of their authors and users, with each respecting the other’s contribution to scholarly communications.  STM will continue to work with researchers, SCNs, librarians and others in the community to improve access to journal articles in line with the rights of their authors and publishers and the interests of all stakeholders.

The Association supports all of its members as they take forward their own discussions and actions directly with ResearchGate.