What is an appropriate response to a request for a copy of a closed-access paper on academia.edu?
For the paper in question, I only provide a link (doi) to the publisher's site on my academia.edu profile, since uploading an actual paper would be illegal. Academia.edu allows other users to request such papers, which sends an auto-generated email to me informing me that someone would like a copy of my paper - if I reply, the copy would be sent to this person only.
Here are my options, the way I see them:
Do nothing (ignore/reject the request) - as much as I don't like publicly-funded research being hidden behind a paywall, people requesting the paper are all associated with universities that should be able to provide them with access to the journal that hosts it. On the other hand, many labs make copies of their published papers available on their sites, even if they are not open access, so this seems to indicate some other aspects of academic paper-sharing culture. Besides, all parties use a full name, and I don't want to come off as inaccessible or unresponsive.
Send the person a copy. I don't know if this would be the right thing to do, but then again I have no experience with such situations.
I'm strongly leaning towards the first option - ideally, I would provide the recipient with an explanation on how to access the paper legally and explain why I cannot provide him with a copy, but I don't know if the message would even make it across given the auto-generated nature of the inquiry.
As a side note, while looking for an answer to this question, I learned that academia.edu has brutal terms of service and am in the process of closing the account anyway, but in the meantime I'd still like to handle this situation.