Researchgate website problems meaning of business

Last week, five publishers said they had formed a coalition that would start ordering ResearchGate to remove research articles from its site because they breach publishers' copyright. Meanwhile, coalition members Elsevier and the American Chemical Society have filed a lawsuit to try to prevent copyrighted material appearing on ResearchGate in future.

The complaint, which has not been made public, was filed on 6 October in a regional court in Germany. ResearchGate is based in Berlin. ResearchGate may already have begun taking articles down, according to a 10 October statement by the coalition. The group said it had noticed that the site had removed "a significant number of copyrighted articles", although ResearchGate hadn't shared information about this with publishers. The clash has been a long time coming. Researchers are increasingly posting paywalled research papers online, many of them on ResearchGate, a network often likened to Facebook for scientists.

Not only do academics upload articles to the site, but ResearchGate also scrapes material online and invites researchers to claim and upload these papers, says James Milne, a spokesperson for the five-publisher group, which calls itself the Coalition for Responsible Sharing. In September, the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers, a trade group based in Oxford, UK, sent a letter to ResearchGate suggesting that the network introduce an automated filtering system, through which uploaded articles would be shared publicly or privately depending on their copyright status.

Publishers generally say that paywalled articles for which they own copyright can be shared only privately; scientists are allowed to upload preprints, and peer-reviewed but unedited manuscripts, online for general access. Litigation has been tried before: inElsevier sent 3, notices under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act to scholarly networks including Academia.

But the new actions would be on a larger scale. The site says it will quickly disable access to infringing material after being notified of a problem. But repeatedly sending lots of take-down notices is not a long-term solution, Milne says — hence the lawsuit, which aims to clarify what responsibility ResearchGate has to prevent copyright breaches.

Not all publishers have stopped discussions with ResearchGate. Updated to include details of a 10 October statement by the coalition of five publishers, which said that ResearchGate had begun removing from public view some copyrighted articles.

Jamali, H. Scientometrics— Richard has reported for Nature in London sinceafter spending two years as a reporter at Chemistry World. He has a master's degree in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge. For the best commenting experience, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines.

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Updates Updated: Updated to include details of a 10 October statement by the coalition of five publishers, which said that ResearchGate had begun removing from public view some copyrighted articles.So Discover Mag just published an article of min e, a sort of response to a piece in Forbes calling for academics to delete their ResearchGate and Academia.

Comments on a postcard. A recent article published by Prof. Sarah Bond at Forbes encouraged researchers to remove all of their research articles from the for-profit company, Academia. The issue raised in the article is essentially this: Why should for-profit companies be allowed to generate profits from your research with little transparency?

Well, actually, this sounds suspiciously like our entire scholarly publishing ecosystem to me, and it is not clear why Academia. This is a vast, global ecosystem that researchers fuel every day, and one that is undergoing quite a state of upheaval at the moment as more and more researchers realise just how daft the whole thing is.

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So why are people treating ResearchGate and Academia. ResearchGate are renowned as the ultimate academic spam email machine, often sending unsolicited invitations to be co-author on articles you had nothing to do with, or vague comments about how a grad student from Estonia accidentally downloaded one of your datasets. One of the key arguments put forward is that in DecemberAcademia.

This provides additional information to users such as who is reading your work, what their academic role, geographic location and university are, as well as the source directing them to your work are. The Forbes article argues that this promotes academic class politics and hierarchical stratification even more, and is quite right in doing so. Additionally, the article argues that the platform now has a policy which means that the site can collect and evaluate data provided by users, and possibly then sell onwards.

Again, it is not clear how this is any different from any publisher or journal which harvests data based on the content researchers freely provide for it. Except that ResearchGate and Academia.

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But by all means, if this concerns you then delete your accounts. But you should probably also then stop giving your research away for free to private publishing companies too.

If anything, these data analytics on both platforms provides a valuable service to researchers, pending what I said about the ResearchGate score above. Both provide metrics on article re-use that are useful for researchers in seeing how their work is being digested by the community. ResearchGate even provides citation scores now too for researchers, similar to Google Scholar and other for-profit platforms like ScienceOpen. And all of them do this for free to users, removing some of the domination over citation metrics that Web of Science and Scopus, both premium and privately owned services, used to have.

And I guess one question is, so what if they are making money from publishing data? One of the main reasons why we publish is so that other people can re-use our work, including on a large-scale. Except that these platforms seem to legitimately give something of value in return beyond a brand name. As such, I find the arguments in the Forbes article not particularly convincing against either platform.

Any argument against both, and their relationship to academia and research in general, seems to ignore the context and the bigger picture of our enormously broken scholarly publishing system.After battling publishing giants like Elsevier and Wiley, ResearchGate has finally succumbed to the allegations of copyright infringement issues. It has decided to restrict access to about 1. Publishers consider this verdict as a big win in their favor.

Let us learn some more details about ResearchGate and its copyright infringement issues. ResearchGate, a for-profit organization based in Berlin, Germany was founded in The website is one of the largest academic networks, allowing users to upload and share publications, book chapters, abstracts and so on.

Notably, ResearchGate receives funds via venture capitalists and science fundersincluding Goldman Sachs, Wellcome Trust charity, and Bill Gates himself. However, the site recently came under heavy scrutiny due to copyright infringement and breach of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing CRS.

A recent study exemplified the magnitude of its infringement. They expressed their concerns in a letter and sent it to ResearchGate. The letter requested ResearchGate to implement an automated regulation system for article copyright allocation.

ResearchGate, however, rejected the suggestion. Since approximately 7 million copyrighted articles were freely available on ResearchGate, the approach seemed impractical. In the underlying site-process, internet trawling for copyrighted papers proceeded to request researchers to upload modified articles to their ResearchGate portfolio.

Clearly, the action warranted that ResearchGate would lose some of its data available online or pay for damages at the court proceedings. In early November, yielding to the pressure from publishing giants, ResearchGate removed at least 1. Following months of conflict, the change ensures that papers will not be freely available online; instead, they can only be requested directly from authors.

According to James Milne, spokesperson for the CRS, the decision to remove access to nearly 2 million articles marks a positive first step. Additionally, a private sharing network may further enhance the security model of article-sharing policies. The dispute with ResearchGate follows a series of actions by academic publishers against several websites providing access to copyrighted articles.

For instance, inElsevier sent takedown notices to Academia. The immense popularity of copyright infringement highlights a bigger problem in the lack of affordable licensing agreements for academic publications. This long-term vision driven by The Electrochemical Society aims to bring about a transformative change in scholarly research communication.

Further efforts are also underway to develop a novel, non-profit scholarly network known as ScholarlyHub. Historian Guy Geltner heads the non-profit scholarly project in an effort to create a portal for academic publications and networking. In contrast to existing academic networks, impending projects will allow academics to own their data in a non-profit scholar-oriented community.

What do you think about this move of ResearchGate? Do you agree with the CRS that this step is a great win towards copyright infringement? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. ResearchGate vs. Publishers: The Saga Continues…. Leave A Reply Cancel Reply. Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:.

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You might also like. Industry News. Leave A Reply.ResearchGate is a European commercial social networking site for scientists and researchers [3] to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. While reading articles does not require registration, people who wish to become site members need to have an email address at a recognized institution or to be manually confirmed as a published researcher in order to sign up for an account.

Users may also follow the activities of other users and engage in discussions with them. Users are also able to block interactions with other users. The site has been criticized for sending unsolicited email invitations to coauthors of the articles listed on the site that were written to appear as if the email messages were sent by the other coauthors of the articles a practice the site said it had discontinued as of November [9] and for automatically generating apparent profiles for non-users who have sometimes felt misrepresented by them.

researchgate website problems meaning of business

As of [update]it has more than 15 million users, [1] with its largest user-bases coming from Europe and North America. ResearchGate publishes an author-level metric in the form of an "RG Score". RG score is not a citation impact measure. RG Scores have been reported to be correlated with existing author-level metrics, but have also been criticized as having questionable reliability and an unknown calculation methodology.

ResearchGate was founded in [12] by virologist Dr. The company's first round of funding, inwas led by the venture capital firm Benchmark. According to The New York Timesthe website began with few features, then was developed further based on input from scientists. The company grew from 12 employees in to in ResearchGate's competitors include Academia.

ResearchGate

A article in BusinessWeek reported that ResearchGate was a "potentially powerful link" in promoting innovation in developing countries by connecting scientists from those nations with their peers in industrialized nations.

It also said that ResearchGate had been involved in several notable cross-country collaborations between scientists that led to substantive developments. Academic reception of ResearchGate remains generally positive, as recent reviews of extant literature show an accepting audience with broad coverage of concepts. Although ResearchGate is used internationally, its uptake—as of —is uneven, with Brazil having particularly many users and China having few when compared to the number of publishing researchers.

A article in Times Higher Education reported that in a global survey of 20, people who use academic social networking sites, ResearchGate was the dominant network and was twice as popular as others: 61 percent of respondents who had published at least one paper had a ResearchGate profile.

In the context of the big deal cancellations by several library systems in the world, the wide usage of ResearchGate was credited as one of the factors which reduced the apparent value of the subscriptions to toll access resources. ResearchGate had been criticized by many users for its decision to not remove convicted sex offenders from its social networking site.

Many researchers deleted their account in protest as they refused to remove convicted child pornographer and registered sex offender in CanadaBen Levin as a user. ResearchGate has been criticized for emailing unsolicited invitations to the coauthors of its users. A study published by the Association for Information Systems in found that a dormant account on ResearchGate, using default settings, generated invitations to 38 people over a month period, and that the user profile was automatically attributed to more than publications.

Several studies have looked at the RG score, for which details about how it is calculated are not published. These studies concluded that the RG score was "intransparent and irreproducible", [18] criticized the way it incorporates the journal impact factor into the user score, and suggested that it should "not be considered in the evaluation of academics".

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It was also found to be strongly positively correlated with Quacquarelli Symonds university rankings at the institutional level, but only weakly with Elsevier SciVal rankings of individual authors.

Nature also reported that "Some of the apparent profiles on the site are not owned by real people, but are created automatically — and incompletely — by scraping details of people's affiliations, publication records and PDFs, if available, from around the web. That annoys researchers who do not want to be on the site, and who feel that the pages misrepresent them — especially when they discover that ResearchGate will not take down the pages when asked.

ResearchGate has also been criticized for failing to provide safeguards against "the dark side of academic writing", including such phenomena as fake publishers, "ghost journals", publishers with "predatory" publication feesand fake impact ratings.

It has also been criticized for copyright infringement of published works. In Septemberlawyers representing the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers STM sent a letter to ResearchGate threatening legal action against them for copyright infringement and demanding them to alter their handling of uploaded articles to include pre-release checking for copyright violations and "Specifically, [for ResearchGate to] end its extraction of content from hosted articles and the modification of any hosted content, including any and all metadata.

It would also mean an end to Researchgate's own copying and downloading of published journal article content and the creation of internal databases of articles. ResearchGate has managed to achieve an agreement on article uploading with three other major publishers, Springer NatureCambridge University Press and Thieme.

Under the agreement, the publishers will be notified when their articles are uploaded but will not be able to premoderate uploads.Launched inResearchGate was one of the earlier academic social networks on the Web. The platform revolves around research papers, a question and answering system, and a job board. Researchers are able to create a profile that showcases their publication record and their academic expertise.

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Other users are then able to follow these profiles and are notified of any updates. In recent years, ResearchGate has become more aggressive in marketing its platform via e-mail. In default settings, ResearchGate sends between 4 and 10 emails per week, depending on the activity in your network.

According to ResearchGate, the score includes the research outcomes that you share on the platform, your interactions with other members, and the reputation of your peers i. The RG Score is displayed on every profile alongside the basic information about a researcher. ResearchGate has received substantial financial backing from venture capitalists and Bill Gates, but it is not clear how the platform will generate revenue ; the possibility of the score being linked to financial value warrants further exploration and critical assessment.

The results of our our evaluation of the RG Score were rather discouraging: while there are some innovative ideas in the way ResearchGate approached the measure, we also found that the RG Score ignores a number of fundamental bibliometric guidelines and that ResearchGate makes basic mistakes in the way the score is calculated. We deem these shortcomings to be so problematic that the RG Score should not be considered as a measure of scientific reputation in its current form.

With such high aims, it seemed to be appropriate to take a closer look at the RG Score and to evaluate its capability as a measure of scientific reputation. We based our evaluation on well-established bibliometric guidelines for research metrics, and an empirical analysis of the score.

Intransparency and irreproducibility over time One of the most apparent issues of the RG Score is that it is in-transparent. ResearchGate does present its users with a breakdown of the individual parts of the score, i. For that you would need to know the exact measures being used as well as the algorithm used for calculating the score. These elements are, however, unknown.

ResearchGate thus creates a sort of black-box evaluation machine that keeps researchers guessing, which actions are taken into account when their reputation is measured. There is a prevalent view in the bibliometrics community that transparency and openness are important features of any metric.

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Furthermore, intransparency makes it very hard for outsiders to detect gaming of the system. In ResearchGate for example, contributions of others i. Anonymous downvoting has been criticised in the past as it often happens without explanation.

Therefore, online networks such as Reddit have started to moderate downvotes. Further muddying the water, the algorithm used to calculate the RG Score is changing over time. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The Leiden Manifesto states that metrics should be regularly scrutinized and updated, if needed. Also, ResearchGate does not hide the fact that it modifies its algorithm and the data sources being considered along the way.

The problem with the way that ResearchGate handles this process is that it is not transparent and that there is no way to reconstruct it. This makes it impossible to compare the RG Score over time, further limiting its usefulness. Between Augustwhen the score was introduced, and November his score fell from an initial 4. It then gradually increased to 1. He has not removed pieces of research from the platform or unfollowed other researchers.Transparency in metrics is the only way scholarly measures can be put into context and the only way biases — which are inherent in all socially created metrics — can be uncovered.

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Launched inResearchGate was one of the earlier academic social networks on the Web. The platform revolves around research papers, a question and answering system, and a job board. Researchers are able to create a profile that showcases their publication record and their academic expertise.

Other users are then able to follow these profiles and are notified of any updates. In recent years, ResearchGate has become more aggressive in marketing its platform via e-mail. In default settings, ResearchGate sends between 4 and 10 emails per week, depending on the activity in your network. According to ResearchGate, the score includes the research outcomes that you share on the platform, your interactions with other members, and the reputation of your peers i.

The RG Score is displayed on every profile alongside the basic information about a researcher. ResearchGate has received substantial financial backing from venture capitalists and Bill Gates, but it is not clear how the platform will generate revenue ; the possibility of the score being linked to financial value warrants further exploration and critical assessment. The results of our our evaluation of the RG Score were rather discouraging: while there are some innovative ideas in the way ResearchGate approached the measure, we also found that the RG Score ignores a number of fundamental bibliometric guidelines and that ResearchGate makes basic mistakes in the way the score is calculated.

We deem these shortcomings to be so problematic that the RG Score should not be considered as a measure of scientific reputation in its current form. With such high aims, it seemed to be appropriate to take a closer look at the RG Score and to evaluate its capability as a measure of scientific reputation. We based our evaluation on well-established bibliometric guidelines for research metrics, and an empirical analysis of the score.

One of the most apparent issues of the RG Score is that it is in-transparent. ResearchGate does present its users with a breakdown of the individual parts of the score, i. For that you would need to know the exact measures being used as well as the algorithm used for calculating the score.

These elements are, however, unknown.

researchgate website problems meaning of business

ResearchGate thus creates a sort of black-box evaluation machine that keeps researchers guessing, which actions are taken into account when their reputation is measured.

There is a prevalent view in the bibliometrics community that transparency and openness are important features of any metric. Furthermore, intransparency makes it very hard for outsiders to detect gaming of the system. In ResearchGate for example, contributions of others i. Anonymous downvoting has been criticised in the past as it often happens without explanation.

The ResearchGate Score: a good example of a bad metric

Therefore, online networks such as Reddit have started to moderate downvotes. Further muddying the water, the algorithm used to calculate the RG Score is changing over time.

researchgate website problems meaning of business

That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The Leiden Manifesto states that metrics should be regularly scrutinized and updated, if needed. Also, ResearchGate does not hide the fact that it modifies its algorithm and the data sources being considered along the way. The problem with the way that ResearchGate handles this process is that it is not transparent and that there is no way to reconstruct it.

This makes it impossible to compare the RG Score over time, further limiting its usefulness. Between Augustwhen the score was introduced, and November his score fell from an initial 4.

It then gradually increased to 1.ResearchGate is a platform where its users, primarily researchers, routinely engage in massive-scale copyright infringement of published works. The platform boasts that 2. The site claims to have around million published articles, which is very impressive seeing as only around million have ever been published Open Access. Now on the face of it, this might seem awesome, as it is vastly increasing access to published research. But it is actually hugely problematic, as recent research reveals.

Based on a random sample of English language articles drawn from ResearchGate, the study showed that:. The key finding was that While this sample size was small, there is no reason to think that the same cannot be said if we scale up to consider the entire corpus of articles shared on RG. This means that around half, or approximately 50 million, research papers on RG are most likely illegally hosted. Every researcher is is aware of RG spam, often with emails requesting directly that authors upload a version of one of their published papers.

So while RG is itself not committing the copyright infringement, it is certainly enabling and often encouraging it, therefore being directly complicit in this on an enormous scale. The problem here is that the vast majority of published research papers cannot be uploaded online legally, even by the original authors. This is because researchers are often forced, albeit often without their knowledge or awareness or understanding of the implications, to transfer full copyright over to publishers in exchange for having their research article published.

The manuscript versions prior to peer review preprints can often freely and without restriction, and the often unformatted but peer reviewed versions postprints can, often with embargo restrictions. This is all of course not complicated or an issue with Open Access publishing in which free, unlimited and unrestricted sharing is completely acceptable and encouraged. Posting to RG is no more difficult than freely posting to an institutional repository, yet with allegedly more than 12 million members on the platform, publishing there is clearly appealing.

Academics precariously use it as a professional advertising tool, and in an academic environment where egotism and self-marketing is rewarded more than sharing, it is easy to perhaps see why using RG is more popular than doing things the legal, and often bureaucratic and expensive way. When questioned about this massive scale illegal file hosting, RG can simply wave their hands and say it has nothing to do with them; instead, fault lies with the choices of their members.

Search engine of choice, Google Scholar, also harvests content from RG. In the meantime, RG can keep using this illegal content to enhance their data analytics, which is perhaps more of an issue than what they then choose to do with such data as a for-profit company. They can, and do, provide a simple statement upon uploading articles, to make sure that they are the legal versions.