ResearchGate and Copyright
ResearchGate is an online network for academic researchers, particularly focused on the sciences. It allows you to connect with colleagues, share research interests, ask questions and provide answers to research problems. The platform also offers the opportunity to upload copies of your papers. Rogers (2015) estimates that by February 2015 around 80% of ResearchGate users had uploaded at least one full text to the site. Whilst this is an excellent way to gain visibility and promote your research, it may lead to problems with the copyright policies of publishers.
If you use ResearchGate, you must take care to check which version of your work you are permitted to upload, and whether it can be uploaded at the time of publication or if an embargo must be applied. It is vital to consult your publishing agreement prior to uploading a text on ResearchGate, as different publishers allow different versions of academic papers to be uploaded to repositories and author websites: the author’s pre-print, the author’s accepted version, or the published version.
If publishers become aware that an incorrect version is being shared or an embargo is not applied then they are likely to issue take down notices or even sue authors for breach of copyright.
To get the most out of ResearchGate without risking a breach of copyright, please read the Copyright Transfer Agreement or licence that you signed to see how you are allowed to share your paper. You can also check open access policies on the journal’s website, or by using Sherpa Romeo, a site that allows you to search for policies by journal title or ISSN. However, it is important to remember that these are only a guide: your own copyright agreement is the definitive source of information.
Getting help on copyright
The SRI team can give you further advice on copyright. Please note that we do not perform copyright checks on papers that are uploaded in ResearchGate. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are in line with your journal’s policy.
We do, however, monitor the content of the SRI Open Access repository, and offer detailed advice on what can be posted there. Please also note that SRI Open Access supports compliance with the next REF: ResearchGate does not. HEFCE does not consider that you are complying with their Open Access policy if you deposit your papers in websites like ReseachGate or Academia.edu.
Surrey Research Insight: The University of Surrey’s Open Access Repository
SRI Open Access: Information about Open Access provided by the University of Surrey’s Open Access Team
Sherpa Romeo: This allows you to easily search for journals to consult their open access posting policies.
Rogers (2015) How do scientists share on academic social networks like ResearchGate? http://blog.sciencebite.com/how-do-scientists-share-on-academic-social-networks-like-researchgate/ [accessed 19/06/2015]