Users of ResearchGate have reported some issues with this professional network. One of the main sources of contention with ResearchGate is the issue of copyright infringement, or, more plainly, issues with researchers being able to use publications off of this site because of their legitimacy. Professors, therefore, have become wary of using ResearchGate, as entire institutions have warned their staffs of the problems revolving around open access and copyright laws.
In the publishing world, there are often very strict dissemination policies, and meanwhile, in the academic world, there are many academicians who pride themselves on the number of publications they hold. In fact, having publications in select fields tells the world of academics and researchers that such an individual is accomplished and well-respected in their field.
There is a stigma surrounding the number of publications an academic has, and also might help said academic move up the career latter faster, or be able to use their many publications to apply for advanced higher education positions and get pay bumps in the process. To sum up, publications are essential for thriving in the field of academia, and likely will matter just as much in the future. This fact alone, according to Times Higher Education, makes researchers desperate to publish as much as they can, wherever they can.
However, publishers, in their contracts, usually do not make it explicitly clear that respective publications will be open access (OA) and available to disseminate to anyone on any such network. This is the nature of legal documents that authors sign, who, sometimes miss the fine print or terms and conditions that do not state in layman’s terms where the author can and cannot source their journal article.
In turn, ResearchGate has faced a massive problem in hosting such publications. Many open-access research articles have proven to be faulty due to copyright infringement, which presents a problem for academics who enjoy reading and citing others materials, but face an ethical dilemma when the document they are reading is violating a legal contract.
Wendy Walker is an Associate Professor and Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University of Montana (UM), and in 2019 made it very clear that open access is a part of open science. In other words, scientific research should be available for everyone, and transforming old documents from old file cabinets to digital documents represents a huge shift in the way information is being transmitted, and learned, in today’s academic environment. Open science must move forward.
Impactio’s role and DOIs
One way that Impactio avoids copyright issues while advancing the mission of having open science is by simply giving academicians the space to post the DOI—digital object identifier, on their profiles, but not actually serving as a source that publishes the articles. This distinction is a win-win for Impactio labs, as DOIs can easily be copy and pasted into Google Scholar, for example, to give researchers and users of this service PDF availability of texts.
Descriptions and Text
One attribute that Users of ResearchGate enjoy is that Abstracts of journal articles are readily visible even if there is trouble downloading a PDF of the same document. The same is true on Impactio, and this is one of the core strengths of using the Laboratory. Indeed, researchers on Impactio labs can post the title of their papers, the journal it is featured in, the year published, and also a Text description of what the piece is about, in addition to the many Metrics available on the site.
Many researchers should take advantage of the text description capability because junior researchers, who might be adamantly looking for a mentor or senior researcher to work with, can learn a lot from simply reading the Abstract of a paper and what scientific angle it/the author, is taking.
To that end, many researchers and especially graduate students today do not have time, with their busy course loads and internship requirements, to read entire journal articles, and so sometimes reading the abstracts of papers provided can be essential. Impactio lab provides this capability, and should also urge academicians to take advantage of writing as much as they can on their academic profiles given that the service is free of charge and the mission of advancing open science is part and parcel of this service.