I just joined research gate (finished PhD in December - published 3 papers early this year) and as soon as I made an account, it shows that someone requested full text of one of my papers 20 weeks ago.

Am I allowed to just upload the .pdf? What are the rules there and how will I know if/when it is appropriate?

  • @EnergyNumbers possibly, but that's restricted to only papers already published OA, which doesn't immediately seem to be the case here. Sep 15, 2015 at 20:44
  • @Andrew the answers there completely answer the question here.
    – 410 gone
    Sep 15, 2015 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


This is entirely dependent on the policy of the publishers - there is no single general rule. For example:

  • Cambridge: no (but you can upload the submitted version)
  • Elsevier: possibly share the manuscript, but not the final PDF
  • Springer: accepted manuscript only

You can see most journal policies through the SHERPA/Romeo site. Note that some (eg Cambridge) have explicitly different policies for institutional or subject repositories versus commercial sites like ResearchGate.

The big exception is if your paper was published open access with a Creative Commons license or similar, either through an all-OA journal such as PLoS ONE or through a 'hybrid' OA option. In this case, you can repost it anywhere you want without permission.

  • 1
    ResearchGate also offers you the option of directly sending a copy of the paper to the person who requested it. Depending on the publisher's policy it might still be a violation to do this, but it's somewhat less egregious than making the paper publicly available on the web. Sep 15, 2015 at 20:46
  • @BrianBorchers that's probably acceptable to all publishers, IME (most institutional repositories have this workflow and I've never heard of it being challenged). I didn't realise RG provided that option, though, rather than hassling authors for fulltext. Sep 15, 2015 at 20:48
  • You get a request to upload your full text, but if you follow the link to ResearchGate it gives you two buttons- one to upload the full text and one to send the full text directly to the requester (and you can attach a nice note explaining why you've sent it privately rather than publishing it on ResearchGate.) Sep 15, 2015 at 22:03
  • @BrianBorchers neat, I'll be a little less rude about them now ;-) Sep 16, 2015 at 7:28

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