Free access to journal articles via ResearchGate, a network often likened to Facebook for scientists, may be quickly disappearing, Nature reports, due to a lawsuit filed by Elsevier and the American Chemical Society to try to prevent copyrighted material from appearing on ResearchGate.
For years, individuals have used ResearchGate’s database to freely access author- or web-scraped uploaded scholarly articles.
However, researchers are increasingly posting paywalled research papers online, many of them on ResearchGate. This has caused a clash, which has long been in the making. Publishers say that paywalled articles for which they own copyright can be shared only privately; scientists are allowed to upload pre-prints, and peer-reviewed but unedited manuscripts, online for general access.
The lawsuit is already affecting existing articles on the network.
According to an Oct. 10 statement, a “significant number of copyrighted articles” have been removed from ResearchGate, and up to 7 million articles are at risk.