May 16, 2022

Report From Germany: “ResearchGate Must Take Down Elsevier Articles, Court Rules”

UPDATE (March 4, 2022) ResearchGate Dealt a Blow in Copyright Lawsuit (via Nature)

Neither side emerged a clear winner in this case, says Nancy Sims, a librarian at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who specializes in copyright issues. “Each party got some pieces that were very favourable to them and some pieces that were less favourable to their claims.”


The EU legislation “essentially says that ResearchGate has to do what ResearchGate has just been ruled it has to do”, says Lisa Hinchliffe, who studies and coordinates the information-literacy services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Not to say there’s no value in a ruling, but the world has indeed changed in the five years since this lawsuit was filed.”

Read the Complete Report (approx. 1125 words)

UPDATE (March 2, 2022) “Two members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, ACS and Elsevier, have decided to appeal the ruling of the Regional Court in Munich in their case against ResearchGate”


From Research Professional News:

A chamber of the Munich Regional Court has ruled that the research networking site ResearchGate has to take down articles uploaded without consent from their original publishers.

A case was brought forward in 2017 by the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, a group of publishers that includes Elsevier and the American Chemical Society. Members of the coalition had sent more than 500,000 takedown notices to ResearchGate in order to remove articles from paid-for journals that had been uploaded and made available for free by users of the platform, according to a statement.

Direct to Full Text (Paywalled)

Statements Posted on Feb. 2, 2022:

From the Coalition for Responsible Sharing

Dr. James Milne, Chair of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing and President, ACS Publications, said: “We welcome the court´s decision confirming that it is illegal for ResearchGate to make content available on its site without permission from publishers, which it does for its own commercial gain. ResearchGate’s insistence that publishers should send takedown notices for this content is not in line with the law, and it is highly disruptive to the research community.

Collaborating and exchanging research articles is a critical element of how researchers make progress that benefits society. Members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing actively enable copyright compliant sharing in many ways. We are pleased the courts have now made it clear that ResearchGate needs to do this in a legally compliant, sustainable way.”

ACS and Elsevier will now review the decision of the court in detail.

Learn More, Read the Complete Statement

From the ResearchGate Statement

The ruling also obliged ResearchGate to refrain from displaying the 50 articles, abstracts and previews identified in the suit. We strongly disagree with that portion of the court’s ruling, and have already filed an appeal in that regard. We removed the articles, which had been uploaded by their authors, as well as the other materials, years ago.

We have offered a “notice and takedown” process, and further measures to safeguard copyright, since the inception of the company, and have also built a content blocking system contemplated by recent changes in German and EU law. These measures are available to any publisher who wishes to take advantage of them, and Elsevier and ACS are already using them.

Ijad Madisch, ResearchGate co-founder and CEO: “We built ResearchGate to support researchers. This litigation with Elsevier and ACS–now almost five years old–dates back to a different era when most publishers did not put the interests of the research community front and center. While we now have strong partnerships with many leading publishers, this ruling is a reminder of how resistant to change some actors in the scholarly communications ecosystem remain. Our work is as necessary today as it was when we started ResearchGate.”

Learn More, Read the Complete Statement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.