Monday, October 8, 2012

Uploading Papers to Researchgate

 Researchgate encourages you to upload pdfs of your papers to their site. But I would sound a note of caution--just because they invite you to do it, does not mean it is legal.  I have been coming across embargoed, preprint and other papers on Researchgate via Google Scholar search.

Many of these papers are most likely still behind the pay wall of the journals they are published in.  As such, the authors should not be making them freely available over the internet! Check before you upload or you may be burning some bridges at those journals.


  1. I have seen papers from some of my coauthors on researchgate in journal format that are definitely not legit. Researchgate clearly reports who originally posted the paper. Researchgate allows the author to supply a doi but there is no direct link to the paper. A direct link is a requirement from many of the publishers that allow posting of pre- and post-prints. If they haven't done so already, it is inevitable that the publishers will start following this up. What happens then? From the legal point of view, Researchgate is clearly the facilitator and liability rests with the author. Does the author get a slap on the wrists and simply removes the paper with no other consequences? Many journals are introducing charges for making the article open access. Can these journals retrospectively send an OpenAccess bill to authors that have posted their articles illegally? Open Access costs $3000 at Elsevier and $2700 at IOP, $1750 at IEEE or $1000 to $3000 at ACS. This could get expensive for a poor PhD student or postdoc, who naively posted everything they had. How much help would they get from Researchgate or their boss or their institution?