It is not possible for ResearchGate to provide you with advice about copyright or what copyright restrictions may apply to your content - if any. However, we can provide some general information which we hope will be helpful.
How does ResearchGate work?
For starters, when thinking about copyright issues, it’s important that you understand what ResearchGate is and how it works. To find out more, we encourage you to read the answers to these frequently asked questions:
ResearchGate is a platform designed to facilitate collaboration, communication, and sharing of information among researchers and scientists. Our platform enables the public sharing, private storing and private sharing of various types of content.
ResearchGate is not a publisher and does not accept articles or papers for publication. Rather, members can track their publications, store private copies, or make their published or unpublished works publicly available on ResearchGate, assuming they have the rights to do so.
A publication page is a page created either by a user or by ResearchGate using publicly available information. When created, publication pages contain information about particular content (e.g. the title and author names) but no full-text content.
Generally speaking, a full-text is a full, readable version of the publication. Normally, proprietary full-text content can only be added to a publication page by an author. If a publication has multiple authors, any of those authors can upload content to the publication page. Publication pages can also contain more than one piece of content. This can happen because, for example, an author chooses to upload different versions of the content or other related content. In that sense, a publication page operates merely as a container for content. Although only one full-text is displayed on a publication page at a time, there may be other full-texts available. These are accessible by clicking the downward-facing arrow at the top right of the publication page and selecting ‘Full-text sources’. The full-text that is displayed on a publication page can also change over time.
In some cases, we may make a full-text available where a publication has a Creative Commons license.
We use advanced technology to identify content which we believe is associated with particular authors on ResearchGate. At various points when using ResearchGate, you may be asked to 'claim' a publication page. In such case, we ask that you confirm that you are in fact an author of the publication and that you want the publication page to appear on your personal profile page. If you are not the author or don’t want the publication to appear on your profile, you need only decline.
Once you have claimed a publication page, you can change the information on the page, such as the publication type, authors, and date. You can’t, however, delete the page from ResearchGate entirely (unless it is one you created yourself).
Sometimes, authors inadvertently claim publications that are not, in fact, theirs. Members can easily remove publications from their profiles. You can also contact Customer Support if you believe someone has incorrectly claimed your content as their own.
When you upload a full-text to ResearchGate, you can choose to share it publicly or store it privately. In either case, the content will be associated with the corresponding publication page. However, if you choose to store your full-text privately, it will only be available to you and your co-authors. Other users can only access the full-text by requesting it from you. Note that, even if you choose to store a full-text privately, the publication page displaying the publication information will still remain available on your profile.
By uploading and publicly displaying your work on ResearchGate, you are making it publicly available to all users of ResearchGate, both logged-in, and logged-out. ResearchGate does not require you to relinquish any rights that you may have in your work. Nor do you transfer or assign copyright to us. You have the right to remove content from ResearchGate at any time. The copyright ownership in the work is determined by copyright law in various jurisdictions, and by any license agreement that you may have signed. In some cases, publishing authors assign all or part of their rights to their publisher, but also retain certain rights. You need to check your license to be sure.
No. ResearchGate does not hold copyright for any publications on the platform. That means we can’t grant you permission to re-use any content that you may find in a publication made available on ResearchGate. To make a copyright permission request, you’ll need to get in touch with the authors of the publication, the journal in which it was published or the relevant publishing company. Many publishers have information on their websites describing allowable uses, and/or a contact email for requesting permission to use their content.
You are responsible for any content that you upload to ResearchGate. That’s why we display the name of the uploader next to any user-uploaded content.
As we do not have any information about rights you may hold, or any license terms or other restrictions which might apply to your content, we necessarily rely on you to understand your rights and act accordingly. For this reason, we request that you fully investigate and confirm that you have sufficient rights to publicly or privately share your content on ResearchGate before you do so. If you have any doubts about your ability to upload content, we encourage you to check your license and/or contact your publisher first.
Can I share or store my content on ResearchGate?
Your ability to share your content on ResearchGate will depend on the rights you hold in that content, which may be determined by an agreement that you have with your publisher. To get you thinking about the relevant issues, we encourage you to read the answers to these questions:
It is not possible for ResearchGate to specifically answer this question, but we can provide some general information which we hope will be helpful. Your ability to make content public depends upon the rights you hold in the content. If you have published your content in a journal or book, your rights are likely governed by a license agreement between you and the publisher. There are thousands of journals and they each have their own form of license. We are not privy to any them.
Your right to publicly share content may depend upon the version of the content you want to upload. Some journals allow publication of non-final versions, such as drafts, pre-prints, and Accepted Manuscripts, but many restrict publication of final versions, sometimes called the Version of Record (“VOR”).
Some versions of content may be subject to embargo periods imposed by the publisher. This means that after a certain period of time has passed since publication, you may be able to self-archive the content or otherwise make it publicly available.
Other content is subject to Open Access licenses. Such content is often subject to much more liberal rules regarding publication but may still have certain restrictions.
Your starting point for understanding any of your options and rights is the agreement you have with your publisher or other rights owner. Read it carefully to determine what rules apply to your content. Many publishers also issue helpful guidelines about their sharing policies and how their content can be used. If you’re unsure about what you’re allowed to share on ResearchGate, we recommend that you get in touch with them first.
On ResearchGate, it is possible to upload content for private storage only. In this case, the content will be available only to you and your co-authors. Even if you're not permitted to publicly share a full-text version of your publication, you may be permitted to store full-texts privately for your own use. Again, we recommend that you always fully investigate and confirm that you have sufficient rights to privately store any content before doing so.
ResearchGate enables members to share content privately with others. No sharing of content happens automatically. Each author must independently assess whether they have a right to share particular content with a particular person before doing so. Some publishers have specific policies that allow a certain amount of private sharing within certain confines. However, you must check your license or contact your publisher to determine the precise restrictions that apply to you and your content.
When you upload content to ResearchGate, you can choose to make it publicly available or to store it privately. Publicly available content can be viewed by anyone, regardless of whether they are registered for ResearchGate or whether they are logged in to ResearchGate. If you choose to store your content privately, it will only be visible to you and your coauthors.
By uploading and publicly displaying your work on ResearchGate you are making it publicly available to all users of ResearchGate – both logged-in members and logged-out users. ResearchGate does not require you to relinquish any rights that you may have in that work. For some types of content, ResearchGate enables you to select a particular license which will apply to your content. For example, you may choose to make your content available subject to a Creative Commons license. If you are planning to eventually publish your work we recommend that you determine whether pre-publication may affect your ability to have your content later accepted for publication.
Just because your article is freely available elsewhere online, doesn’t necessarily mean you have the rights to share it on ResearchGate. You’ll still need to make an independent assessment about whether you have sufficient rights to publicly or privately share the content on ResearchGate before you do so.
There's no place on a publication page to include a link redirecting the reader to the journal's or publisher’s own page, as that's not something that we generally allow or encourage on ResearchGate.
What should I do if I'm unsure about my rights?
If you’re unsure about your rights to share your content on ResearchGate, you should first review any applicable license agreement that you have signed with a publisher and any policies they may post on their website. If you still have questions, we recommend that you get in touch directly with your publisher. If you’ve already made the content publicly available, we recommend that you remove it (or simply make it private) while you confirm your rights. You may be allowed to share another version of the content, such as an Accepted Manuscript, or to privately store a copy on ResearchGate. Again, that will depend on any agreement you have with your publisher. Here’s how you can review and remove your content:
You can see a list of the scientific contributions that you have claimed or added to your profile by visiting the Contributions tab on your profile page. Using the menu on the left-hand side, you can filter your contributions by type (e.g. Projects, Research Items, Questions). If you select Research Items you can sort your research by newest, oldest, title, or recently added using the Sorted by drop-down menu at the top of the list.
You can also filter your research items using the menu on the left-hand side (e.g. Article, Conference Paper). If any of your research items have publicly available full-texts, there will be an option to filter by full-texts.
To review the publication pages where you have made a full-text publicly available:
- Go to your Contributions tab
- Select the Full-texts filter underneath Research Items from the menu on the left-hand side. This filter shows you any of your research items that have publicly available full-texts.
- Any research items that have a publicly available full-text added by you will have a green message above the title that says ‘You added a full-text to this item’.
Here’s how you can remove a publication page and/or full-text from your profile or from ResearchGate entirely:
- Visit the Contributions tab on your profile and scroll down to the research item
- Click on the arrow next to Add resources
- Select Remove
- Select the relevant option
- Select your reason for removing
- Proceed by clicking on the relevant button.
Note: If you didn’t create the publication page, you will not have the option to remove it from ResearchGate entirely. You can, however, remove it from your profile. If one of your coauthors uploaded the full-text, it will still be visible on ResearchGate.
There’s an option to make your full-text private rather than removing it entirely from ResearchGate. This means the full-text will no longer be publicly displayed, but a private copy will be available to you and your coauthors. You must always ensure that you have the right to publicly share or privately store your full-text before doing so. For more information see Am I allowed to share my research on ResearchGate?
You are responsible for your own content. That’s why we display your name above any content that you have uploaded to ResearchGate. Sometimes we receive reports from copyright owners alleging that content is being made available on ResearchGate in a way that infringes their rights. To find out more about this process, you can read our Intellectual Property Policy. We also answer some questions about copyright infringement below:
We have a process for disabling access to any allegedly infringing content when we receive a report from an authorized copyright owner. If you’re not a copyright owner or authorized to act on behalf of a copyright owner, we must ask that you contact the copyright owner and ask them to submit a notice of claimed infringement.
If you are a copyright owner, US, European and other laws require that your notice of copyright infringement follow a specific form. The easiest way to do this is to complete our form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. It provides us with a required signature and information about your company that we’ll keep on file. If you do not wish to use our form, you can use your own form or send an email, as long as it contains all the legally required information. For more information about our reporting policies and the required information, see our Intellectual Property Policy page.
The term “plagiarism” has different meanings, but it usually includes copying somebody else’s work without permission. If you own your work and someone has copied it, or parts of it, without permission, it may be a copyright infringement. If you are the copyright owner and believe there is copyright infringement, you may report the content and request that it be removed from ResearchGate. To do so you need only submit a notice of claimed infringement, as described above. If your copyright interests have been assigned to a publisher, you may need to the publisher to report any infringements to us.
ResearchGate respects the intellectual property rights of publishers and other owners of content. If a rights owner submits a notice of claimed copyright infringement in accordance with our procedures and international law, we remove the identified content. Failure to do so could possibly expose us and you to legal liability. If this happens, we’ll send you notice of our action by email.
We’re also required by law to implement a suspension policy for repeat infringers. That means we keep a record of all instances of content removal. Additional infringements can result in further action on your membership, including blocked uploading rights and your membership being permanently disabled.
Bear in mind that rights owners can submit notices of claimed copyright infringement at any time, and in relation to content that you may have uploaded in the past. Because of this, you could become a repeat infringer even if you haven’t uploaded any new content since your previous infringement. That’s why it’s important that you review any content that you have uploaded to ResearchGate and ensure that you have the appropriate rights to share it.
No. ResearchGate has no knowledge of the rights that might apply to your particular content and is not privy to any license agreements you may have with publishers. Thus, we are not in a position to evaluate the correctness of notices of claimed infringement. If a rights owner submits a notice of claimed copyright infringement in accordance with our procedures and international law, we remove the identified content. Failure to do so could possibly expose us and you to legal liability. If this happens, we’ll send you notice of our action by email.
ResearchGate cannot and does not independently assess the merits of the claims made. We do not have any information about rights you may hold, or any license terms or other restrictions which might apply to your content. Failure to remove the content can possibly expose us and you to legal liability.
We recognize, however, that rights owners sometimes make mistakes in reporting content. If you believe that access to your content should not have been disabled, or your content was removed in error, you should contact the reporting party directly to explain the situation. We usually provide you with their contact email address in our notice of infringement. In general, if the rights owner acknowledges their error, you can ask them to email us directly and retract their notice of infringement. We can then enable you to re-upload the content.
If you’re unable to publicly share a file on ResearchGate due to “copyright restrictions,” that generally means we have previously received a notice of claimed copyright infringement from a copyright owner, stating that the display of the particular content infringed their copyright. As such, you’re now prevented from publicly sharing this particular file. You may be able to share a different file or a different version, but only if it does not violate any agreements you made with the copyright owner. If you have any doubts about your rights in particular content, please check first.