Our mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all, which means we’re committed to helping researchers access the research they need to do their best work. At the same time, we respect the intellectual property rights of copyright owners. That’s why we’ve introduced technology that aims to make copyright-compliant sharing simpler for authors.
Understanding copyright checks
In the world of publishing, it can be difficult for authors to know how they can share their research responsibly. Sharing options can vary by publisher and depend on factors like publisher copyright policies and author agreements. By incorporating publishers' copyright policies into ResearchGate, we’re able to notify authors about what sharing options are available for their research.
How copyright checks work
Our copyright check system is a tool for copyright owners to manage the sharing of their copyrighted material on ResearchGate. Publishers that use our copyright check system provide ResearchGate with information about their copyright-protected works. This information includes specific identifiers that our automated system uses to identify copyrighted content. Publishers also determine what sharing options are available to the authors.
As authors create publication pages and upload files for their work, their content is automatically checked against our database of copyright information. If our system finds a match, authors will be notified about what sharing options are available to them. For some research items, authors won’t be able to add an abstract or upload a full-text for public access.
With this tool, copyright owners control the information themselves and can update it at any time. If a research item’s rights information changes, the copyright owner can change the sharing options in the database and it will be updated automatically on ResearchGate’s side.
Currently, only a few publishers are using our copyright check system to share copyright information with us, and our database may not include copyright information for all of a participating publisher’s works. Because of this, it’s still important to check the conditions of any applicable policy and copyright agreement you entered into before sharing content on ResearchGate to ensure you have the rights to do so.
What happens if my research item is identified as a match?
If you try to upload a public full-text and we find a match in our copyright check database:
- You’ll see information about the publisher who identified the content as copyright-protected.
- You may see a message explaining that the file can’t be uploaded for public access. If the publisher allows the file to be stored privately, you’ll see the option to continue uploading a copy of the file that only you and your co-authors can access. You can also continue without uploading a file or try selecting a different file.
- For certain research items, you won’t be able to add an abstract to its publication page under the publisher’s copyright policies.
My upload was successful. Does that mean I’m allowed to share my content on ResearchGate?
Our copyright check system is limited to the copyright information that we’ve received from participating publishers. If our copyright check system doesn’t find a match for content you’re adding, it may still be copyright-protected.
For more information on your sharing options, we suggest that you check any copyright agreement you have with the copyright owner and their applicable policies. Links to some copyright policies may be found here.
Does a copyright match affect my account?
Copyright matches are not counted as “strikes” for the purposes of our Strikes Policy.
However, if you upload content that is later identified by a publisher as infringing and therefore removed, that instance may count as a strike against your account under our Strikes Policy. For more information, please see our Intellectual Property Policy and the Copyright section of our Help Center.
How do I dispute a copyright match?
If you try to upload a full-text and it matches information in our copyright database, your sharing options might be restricted. If you believe your content should not be restricted, we suggest that you check any copyright agreement you have with the copyright owner and their applicable policies. Links to some publishers’ copyright policies and FAQ pages may be found in our Directory of Publisher Copyright Policies section.
Following that, if you still think the content should not be restricted, you may wish to contact the copyright owner directly to ask them to review the copyright restriction.
If the copyright owner determines that the content no longer needs to be restricted under their policies (e.g., because it has become open access), the copyright owner can update the information in ResearchGate’s copyright database at any time. If the copyright owner changes the relevant information in the copyright database, it will be updated automatically.