Today it was officially announced that Atlantis Press has joined the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, a coalition of publishers which is taking formal steps to remedy the illicit dissemination of millions of copyrighted articles on ResearchGate (and other scholarly collaboration networks where applicable) and which has been created to provide the scientific community and the wider public with information on activities which are needed to address the infringing actions by ResearchGate that are undermining the viability of scholarly research.
An analysis undertaken during 2017 indicated that ResearchGate was making approximately 7.7 million copyright-infringing articles available on its site. In addition, ResearchGate adds an average of 150,000 articles with a publisher DOI to its site every month and studies have indicated that most of the articles available through ResearchGate are likely distributed in breach of copyright. Since 2015, numerous attempts to agree with ResearchGate on amicable solutions, including signing up to the STM’s Voluntary Principles for Article Sharing on Scholarly Collaboration Networks and implementing a user-friendly technical solution, remained unsuccessful. Therefore, a coalition of initially five publishers joined together to take collective action against ResearchGate. The Coalition for Responsible Sharing was formed in October 2017 with the express goal of helping ResearchGate to become fully copyright-compliant.
Left with no other choice, members of the coalition started to issue takedown notices to ResearchGate and two publishers, the American Chemical Society and Elsevier, asked the courts to clarify ResearchGate‘s copyright responsibility. This litigation is currently still ongoing. Remco de Boer, CEO of Atlantis Press journals publishing services subsidiary Atlantis Press International, explains the rationale behind joining the coalition: “Some may be surprised that we joined this initiative as Atlantis Press is clearly the ‘odd one out’ compared to other coalition members in the sense that we are a fully open access publisher and hence the notion of copyright infringements does not apply to our content in the same way as for the others. Let me start by saying that despite these differences we believe that publishers should unite in support of issues related to responsible sharing of content. However, by joining the coalition we also hope to create awareness that open access publishing does not mean that anyone can just put anything anywhere. There are still CC license terms to be applied for open access articles and we have concerns about the fact that ResearchGate violates such terms related to the commercial exploitation of so-called NC(Non-Commercial)-designated content. So we urge the coalition to take a broader view on responsible sharing as such by equally considering this open access angle in addition to copyright infringements.”
At the time of writing this article, a total number of 15 society, not-for-profit and commercial publishers have joined the coalition including the American Chemical Society, the American Medical Association, the American Physiological Society, Atlantis Press, BMJ, Brill, Elsevier, Future Science Group, IEEE, IWA Publishing, Oxford University Press, Portland Press (wholly-owned by the Biochemical Society), Wiley, Wolters Kluwer and World Scientific Publishing.
Atlantis Press (https://www.atlantis-press.com) is a global open access publisher of scientific, technical and medical (STM) content which was founded in Paris in 2006 and which currently has offices in Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Beijing. The company’s mission is to support the advancement of scientific, technical and medical research by contributing to a more efficient and effective dissemination and exchange of knowledge both for the research community and society at large. The Atlantis Press content platform currently contains more than 80,000 published articles which are all open access and hence freely accessible.