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Publishers take academic networking site to court

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Science  13 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6360, pp. 161
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6360.161

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Summary

Scholarly publishing giants Elsevier and the American Chemical Society last week filed a lawsuit in Germany against ResearchGate, a popular academic networking site, alleging copyright infringement on a massive scale. The move comes after a larger group of publishers became dissatisfied with ResearchGate's response to a request to alter its article-sharing practices. ResearchGate, a for-profit firm in Berlin that was founded in 2008, claims more than 13 million users, who can use their personal pages to upload and share a range of material, including published papers. In recent years, journal publishers (including AAAS, publisher of Science) have become increasingly concerned about the millions of copyrighted papers—usually accessible only behind subscription paywalls—that are being shared by ResearchGate users. ResearchGate suggested the publishers send individual "takedown" notices for all copyrighted papers, but the publishers say that would be impractical.

  • * Dalmeet Singh Chawla is a science journalist in London.