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I've got a case where 90% of my academic publications are being claimed by a professor at another university with the same name on ResearchGate. I've sent several email requests both direct and through ResearchGate messaging to ask him to remove those publications from his profile. This has been over several months with no response.

At this point, I'm thinking of sending a registered letter to the professor and his department chair to correct what I see as academic theft through inaction. However, I realize that ResearchGate is mostly at fault here. There is no mechanism to dispute ownership once assigned.

Thought about doing a DMCA takedown notice of the offending pages.

What is the best way to resolve this?

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    given that research gate sends invitations falsely claiming to be from its users (for example a coauthor), it is likely that the professor is either ignoring your messages or that they go straight to his spam-folder. related question: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/24127/… – henning -- reinstate Monica Jun 19 '15 at 21:05
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    I would say ResearchGate is entirely at fault here. Not that I'm defending them, but for some perspective: a related issue happens with Google Scholar. Papers with similar authors and titles can get automatically conflated, and there's a paper I can't get out of my profile because I can't unmerge it from an actual paper of mine. Google Scholar does not allow complete accuracy (and the citation data has many flaws). – Kimball Jun 20 '15 at 1:23
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    Make sure to call this misconduct "ResearchGateGate"! – Andrew Grimm Jun 20 '15 at 7:14
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    @AndrewGrimm No, there was no typo. I meant that, mostly likely, this is completely a result of the way ResearchGate does things and chances are that the other professor with the same name is blameless. – Kimball Jun 20 '15 at 7:28
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    @Kimball -- It was confusing, because as written, the antecedent of "them" in "not that I'm defending them" is ResearchGate. Did you mean "not that I'm defending the researcher..."? – LindaJeanne Jun 20 '15 at 22:19
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I think the most important part of your question is the bit about "with the same name".

ResearchGate has very loose and rather questionable practices in how they manage their citation data, which tends to err on the side of inclusion. Moreover, their terrible user interface makes it very easy for somebody to do things like click "add all" and end up with a whole bunch of misattributed publications. In the little bit that I played with ResearchGate before giving it up as basically useless, it kept offering to give me authorship of papers by people with the same last name---not even the same first name. It will also automatically add papers to your profile in some circumstances.

What I'm driving at is that, given that you and this other researcher have the same name, it's plausible that they didn't even do this intentionally and have just written off the whole ResearchGate mess. The fact that they didn't respond to your direct email is more problematic, but again not necessarily damning---you may well be going into their "headache pile" or even their spam folder.

Given all of this, what I would suggest is a two step solution:

  1. If you think you have standing to do so, send a DMCA takedown notice to ResearchGate: it's fast, easy, and might get the content taken down.
  2. After that, just start ignoring the whole mess. It's not worth your time and energy.
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    I fail to see how the DMCA would be applicable here. Nobody's copyright is infringed. Something has just been misattributed. That wouldn't be the first time something on the internet turns out to be factually wrong. – Wolfgang Bangerth Jun 20 '15 at 2:39
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    Wolfgang is right re: the DMCA --- it'll be good for getting rid of copyrighted content, but not for misattribution. +1 for all the rest of the points though. – Paul Gowder Jun 20 '15 at 15:45
  • @WolfgangBangerth I've adjusted to say only to do DMCA if there is appropriate standing to do so. – jakebeal Jun 21 '15 at 19:10
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As quoted directly from research gate, here is the solution

Our author match feature is designed to help you quickly confirm authorship of your publications on ResearchGate. The ease of this one-click process means mistakes can sometimes be made, so if another researcher has claimed your publication, it is usually the result of an honest mistake. To resolve this: Go to your publication’s ResearchGate page Click the Is this your publication? button on the right-hand side Tell us what’s happened in the box that appears and, if possible, include links to other places where your work is published. We take erroneous authorship claims very seriously and review each case manually, so please bear with us.

https://explore.researchgate.net/display/support/Authorship

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    The problem with this is that to do it one has to register with ResearchGate and risk the negative consequences of that. – Pete L. Clark Jun 19 '15 at 18:50
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    IOW this is part of their growth hacking. – user18072 Jun 19 '15 at 21:04
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    @PeteL.Clark Is it possible to create an account just for the purpose of filing a complaint/correction, without fully registering as yourself? Or to contact them via email? – Dronz Jun 19 '15 at 21:23
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    From the text mentioned in the question, I assume that the author I.e. User1653114 already has an account on research gate.. So he could simply follow the steps mentioned above and let the research gate guys fix the issue. – Saurabh Jun 20 '15 at 3:13
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I think most people have come to conclude that ResearchGate is sort of a nice idea but not very useful in actual practice. I don't know anyone who really thinks it's great.

In other words, use your energies for other things -- if you claim on your CV and website that a particular paper is yours, then people will believe you. The fact that some other dude is claiming your papers on ResearchGate may be a nuisance, but it's not going to help that person either because they are clearly not written by them.

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    I know a head of a reputable American math department who thinks that ResearchGate is great enough so that the publications part of his webpage now directly links there. (I tried to talk him out of it...) – Pete L. Clark Jun 19 '15 at 18:44
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    @PeteL.Clark, it's good that you're not disclosing the identity of that nincompoop... – paul garrett Jun 19 '15 at 22:16
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    @PeteL.Clark: I'm sure they exist, but counter-examples do not negate a widely shared observation. – Wolfgang Bangerth Jun 20 '15 at 11:10
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    @WolfgangBangerth I think Pete was mostly sharing an amusing anecdote, not actually trying to offer a counterpoint to your answer. – pjs36 Jun 20 '15 at 21:59
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    I have seen no other way of being alerted to publications from particular groups/researchers... it's pretty awesome for staying up to date i think. At least a few reputable prof's at my univ. have had their secretaries update all their pubs on RG - not sure that "most people" part is entirely true. – Demis Aug 15 '15 at 3:54
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I'm pretty sure that the correct answer to any question involving ResearchGate is "just ignore it". As others have said, there is likely no malice in the other academic who has become associated with your work. There's a good chance that they're "ignoring" your email because anything about ResearchGate goes straight into the spam folder, where it (almost always) belongs.

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  • A more physicsy way of saying this would be - just like the AdS-CFT correspondence in string theory, all academicians who have been around for sometime, are aware of the ReserachGate-SpamFolder correspondence! Classic point. – 299792458 Jun 20 '15 at 15:04
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Reiterating essentially the same point made by other people: first, the person with the same name as you may have had no part whatsoever in giving the appearance that he/she is the author of your papers. Second, despite the disturbing popularity of such "metrics" (cf. @PeteLClark's comment), no sane person will trust such things... for more than one reason.

Again, at my own university, the local software akin to "ResearchGate" both ignores much of my work and "gives me credit" for random stuff that is not mine.

Just as one cannot spend one's life attempting to rebut false claims made on the internet... uh... you can't spend your life attempting to rebut false claims made on the internet. Specifically, the profit-motivated amoral people can generate crap far more efficiently than it can be cleaned up.

Yes, unfortunately, the future of academe may indeed be fatally corrupted into a "dystopia" by affection of "bosses/managers" for such "metrics". Too bad.

Bottom line: ignore it. It's a slightly-structured spam.

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