201711.10
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ResearchGate Takes Step In The Right Direction

You may remember a few weeks ago we wrote an article on ResearchGate, the social networking site for academics to share published papers and books with one another, and the copyright infringement case that had been started against it. If not, the article can be read here.

It has now been reported that ResearchGate, after receiving mass amounts of takedown notices, has finally made 1.7 million articles on their site that were alleged to be in breach of copyright laws, less accessible.  Instead of being able to instantly download papers, users now have to request a copy of the paper from the author.

The organisation responsible for starting the action against ResearchGate is the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), who were the first to complain to ResearchGate about their article sharing policies. STM is a member organisation for academic and professional publishers. The organisation boasts 145 members across 21 countries. Elsevier and The American Chemical Society (ACS), members of STM, continued the action when they took ResearchGate to a German regional Court to seek judgment on the legality of ResearchGate’s actions.

The step taken by ResearchGate to limit the access to 1.7 million papers have been acknowledged as a step in the right direction, as it now means users of the website have to seek permission from an author to use a particular paper rather than just being able to freely download it. ResearchGate has been warned however that this step alone is not enough as they are still breaching copyright by allowing the papers to be re-uploaded into the public domain.

It appears therefore that this matter seems destined to roll on and the actions taken by ResearchGate will not be sufficient to see an end to the legal proceedings instigated against them.