Springer Nature and ResearchGate launch an innovative access model for research papers
Springer Nature, one of the largest publishers of scientific journals, and ResearchGate, a social networking platform for researchers, have announced an article-sharing pilot project that will enable ResearchGate users easy access to select articles published in some of the Nature journals.
Under this three-month-long pilot period, over 6000 full-text articles published in 23 Nature journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, and Nature Physics from November 2017 onward will be rolled out to relevant ResearchGate users’ profiles. These articles will be available without any access controls, so users will be able to read or download them freely. ResearchGate and Springer Nature view this “as part of a broader goal to improve access to scientific results for everyone.”
Though the project has been initially planned for three months, it may be extended depending on how it is received during the period. During the pilot, Springer Nature along with ResearchGate will gather data about how authors discover and access articles. They will also acquire feedback about readers’ experiences to evaluate the impact of this initiative.
Springer Nature and ResearchGate believe that this project will help authors increase the visibility of their work and assess its impact across various platforms. In her communication with The Scientist, Susie Winter, the director of communications and engagement at Springer Nature, said: “Springer Nature will upload all the necessary content, meaning that authors will not have to do anything to make their work available.” She also mentioned that “The authors will still be bound by the license to publish agreement they entered into when they published with Nature Research.”
Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer at Springer Nature, asserts that the publisher is committed to finding new ways to advance discovery. “It is early days, but we are very excited about this first pilot with ResearchGate which will see us explore new ways for researchers to share content to deliver a better experience for the scientific community which ResearchGate and Springer Nature both serve,” he adds.
In the past, publishers such as Elsevier and American Chemical society have filed lawsuits against ResearchGate for illegally sharing copyrighted work in Germany and the US. However, Inchcoombe states that: “Springer Nature’s view is that ResearchGate is a legitimate platform and a platform we want to work with.”
It remains to be seen how this innovative access model is received by the academics. What are your views on this? Please share your comments and opinions in the comments section below.