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I am a member of ResearchGate.net and I sometimes receive this 'full-text request' for some of my publications. Thus far, I generally provide them an access to my publication. However, I am not sure if this is good since the profile of the person who made the request is not always visible. Perhaps, some people are taking advantage of this somehow. Also, could this lead to any issues with the publishing organisation? Any ideas and recommendations?

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    I simply ignore these requests. I believe that most of them are more or less accidental due to a bad (and sometimes close to malicious) UI. My policy is that I supply full text for my open access manuscripts on ResearchGate and send other manuscripts upon receiving personalized requests.
    – user9482
    Apr 6, 2017 at 8:57
  • @Roland Why not upload a pre-print version? Apr 6, 2017 at 12:04
  • the whole point of RG is to share your research. many readers don't have subscriptions to closed access content. the full-text request is a way for RG to intermediate personalized requests. May 5, 2023 at 16:14
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    You could use this information to verify if you've put a pre-print on a site. Sometimes reviewers of articles or dissertations want to read an article that has been cited, and the only online source is ResearchGate. For example, Google Scholar may have a citation to the article, but there is no online access, even when researchers have subscriptions through their insititution. In 2024, reviewers won't likely go to request a paper copy from their library; they'll click the "Request" button on your profile :) Mar 22 at 13:32

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First off: Receiving these requests means that people want to read your work. In nearly any academic scenario, this is a good thing. Embrace it, and help them! It's difficult to imagine what nefarious purpose could be served by somebody asking to read your paper for free, when they could read it anyway by doing an inter-library loan or paying a publisher $30. Some people consider ResearchGate itself to be nefarious; if this is you, you will have to choose between making your work more accessible and avoiding contribution to RG.

So, assuming that you want to help this person read your work, you need to check what you are allowed to do. Then,

  1. If you are allowed to upload the final version of your paper, do that. This is probably only the case if you have paid the journal for so-called "Gold OA" and it has a permissive license.

  2. If you are allowed to upload a post-review preprint ("postprint") to ResearchGate, do that. This question, and its answers, may be relevant here.

  3. If you are not allowed to upload the paper to ResearchGate, it would be worth adding a note to that effect to the description of the publication, and (if you are allowed to upload it elsewhere, such as a personal website) giving a link to where it may be found. If contact details for the person who made the request are visible, you may wish to write to them privately and tell them where they can find it, or email them a copy.

Note that in addition to "this person wants to read your work" messages, ResearchGate occasionally sends "reminders" for any publications that don't have full-text uploaded asking you to provide it. You might want to follow step 1 or 2 above if applicable, but otherwise these are best ignored. Or, to stop the emails, you could upload a PDF that simply contains a statement of where the paper can be obtained from.

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    May be worth noting that you can also send a PDF privately via ResearchGate in response to a full-text request. That should in most cases be ok even if copyright forbids to publish the full text on that platform.
    – silvado
    Feb 27, 2018 at 9:04
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Work out if you can post pre-prints Many journals allow you to share some form of pre-print online. In some cases there is ambiguity as to whether posting pre-prints to ResearchGate is allowed by an agreement. For example, some publisher agreements limit sharing to personal websites, institutional repositories, etc. Nonetheless, most take-down requests that I've heard about on researchgate pertain to posting the publisher's formatted, full-text, version. Sherpa ROMEO provides general guidance about publisher policies.

Post your pre-prints in a range of forums. So, it makes sense that where possible you should provide the pre-print in a range of forums in order to facilitate the distribution of your work to those who do not have institutional access. There are many discipline specific repositories where you can post pre-prints.

Post the pre-print to ResearchGate. If you are on ResearchGate, then you have indicated a desire to use the system. So you should consider adding full-text pre-prints where you feel comfortable. That way, you wont get these requests because the full-text is already available.

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I am also a member of ResearchGate and also sometimes get full text requests, as do my co-authors. What we do is if we are not able to email the scholar directly, we privately send a pre-print to the person asking (where we can) - usually with a message thanking them for their interest and an invitation to ask any questions should they arise.

You do have to be careful regarding the publisher's rules on this, look on their websites and if in doubt, ask.

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    ideally, do it outside of RG, via regular email. Nobody knows what RG does with the file.
    – Cape Code
    Apr 4, 2017 at 8:23
  • @CapeCode thank you for reminding me - clarified this point in
    – user70612
    Apr 4, 2017 at 8:28
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You could request that the person make a formal request to your email account, if you are concerned that there is something strange about the individual not having their profile visible. Also, many journals (you may have to check with yours) will allow you to distribute an early version of the paper you published. For instance, a pdf of the last submission before acceptance. If you do not want to give the full, published paper out, then this is an option.

Most libraries have interlibrary loan, so I feel that it is somewhat lazy for a person to directly contact the author for a print, unless the request is from someone outside of academia or in a developing country. Those are the only reasons I have given out a full-text version of my paper, given that the request appears sincere.

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  • One person's "lazy" is another person's "somebody wants to read my work! I should help them!" I guess this may depend on what stage one's career is at ;-)
    – Flyto
    Apr 6, 2017 at 8:17
  • Agreed. However, I once had someone from Dartmouth ask for my paper and there was no text in the email other than asking me to send it- no comments about the topic or why it was important. I wrote back that I'm sure their interlibrary loan program would be able to find a copy. However, I recently had an administrator from a hospital in the UK ask for a copy of a different paper- she stated that she had tried, but couldn't get the full text as requested from her dept. I will send her the publisher's link to a free copy. The context of the request, not the request itself indicates laziness. Apr 6, 2017 at 16:10
  • I can see that :)
    – Flyto
    Apr 6, 2017 at 20:05

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