As a coauthor, I occasionally receive requests for full-text pdfs of research I have worked on in the past (vis Researchgate for instance). Thus far I have generally ignored those requests - leaving it up to the first or corresponding author to reply.

However, when these requests lay dormant for a while I would like to know what the etiquette would be for providing the full text as a middle author?


  • Share my work more widely, also increases visibility for the first author/senior author.
  • Coauthors may have drifted away from academia, or not be on the platform.


  • Not sure of the interface on Researchgate - but if they have explicitly ignored the request and then I accept it I have acted against their interest.
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    Make sure you read the fine print about whether you are allowed to share the paper, before uploading it on Researchgate. – Federico Poloni Apr 20 '20 at 9:51
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    I do not know whether things have changed, but be aware that ResearchGate has a history of sending fake requests on behalf of third persons. – Wrzlprmft Apr 20 '20 at 10:02
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    In this situation, I share papers privately on Research gate rather than posting them publicly. Also, @Wrzlprmft makes a good point with good reason (ResearchGate earned a spam-y reputation early on). However, most if not all of my interactions seem to real people doing real interactions (or, at least RG is good enough at faking it I cannot tell the difference!). – Richard Erickson Apr 20 '20 at 13:17
  • @Wrzlprmft Is there documentation somewhere about these fake requests? – Kimball Apr 20 '20 at 19:08
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    @Kimball: Wikipedia documents some of it. This may be a past thing now (after they lured enough customers); at least I haven’t heard from them in a while. But then they may just have given up on me after a certain number of mails. – Wrzlprmft Apr 20 '20 at 19:48

It's your paper, even if you are just a co-author. I can't imagine why any of your collaborators would not want to share them. Keeping in mind that not all journals are accessible to everyone, I see no reason not to promptly acquiesce, even if you are not the corresponding author.

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    Good answer. I would add that Researchgate is a dubious platform and I wouldn't take it as seriously as an email. – Anonymous Physicist Apr 20 '20 at 2:16

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