ResearchGate.net and Your Professional Identity

ResearchGate.net is a very popular platform among researchers for advancing their reputations and often for sharing copies of their papers, whether allowed by publishers or not. It is the product of a start-up company that has received financing from some of the main funders of ways to provide open access to the results of funded research such as the Wellcome Trust, as recently described in this article in TechCrunch.

It is widely used by people who want to be known for their scholarship and research.  Frequent updates via email about people using or wanting your papers, or new papers by your co-authors of past papers, are either welcome or annoying, depending on your viewpoint at the time! 

The system prompts researchers to upload the PDF of articles, and frequently authors are not aware of that publishers forbid such sharing via the author contract. However, many do, and ResearchGate.net is a major source of full text found via GoogleScholar.

Dr. Hamid R. Jamali did a study about full text found in ResearchGate.net, titled “Copyright compliance and infringement in ResearchGate full-text journal articles”, which was published by Springer in Scientometrics in February 2017, and is available for a fee. The author’s version of this article is posted in ResearchGate.net, which is allowed by the author’s contract with Springer.  He found that 51.3% of the articles in the study should not have been posted on ResearchGate.net based on publishers’ policies. 

We discuss appropriate use of a variety of tools, such as ResearchGate.net, for advancing your professional identity in our workshops on managing your professional or research identity, and are always happy to consult on questions regarding use of services like ResearchGate.net. 

Barbara DeFelice and Jen Green

Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program at Dartmouth

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