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ResearchGate, a popular social networking site for researchers, has come under fire from publishers because of the way in which scientists share their research on the platform.

Last week, a group of scholarly publishers called the Coalition For Responsible Sharing, published a statement saying that their attempts to negotiate with ResearchGate over papers shared in breach of copyright had failed, and that they had been “left with no other choice but to take formal steps to remedy the illicit hosting of millions of subscription articles on the ResearchGate site.”

The Coalition, which includes publishers Elsevier, the American Chemical Society, Brill, Wiley and Wolters Kluwer, said that it would begin to issue notices to ResearchGate requesting that infringing content be removed from the site. Additionally, the statement said that the American Chemical Society and Elsevier, “are asking the courts to clarify ResearchGate’s copyright responsibility”. Science reported that a lawsuit had been filed by the publishers at a regional court in Germany, where ResearchGate is based.

Meanwhile, publisher Springer Nature published a joint statement with ResearchGate on 9 October, which said the two parties were “cautiously optimistic” that they would find a solution to sharing scientific journal articles online, while at the same time protecting intellectual property rights. They invited other publishers and societies to join the talks.