“Has anyone else noticed the conflict of advice that exists in the Springer Nature (SN) SharedIt initiative? On the face of it, it appears a good thing – actively encouraging authors to share their research – until you get into the weeds of what is permitted and required. [Added emphasis in quotations are all mine]
SN states that it
“wants researchers to share content easily”
and that it wishes
“to enable researchers to share articles of interest with collaborators and colleagues. We also wish to enable authors to share their research articles widely”
and proudly trumpets that using its SharedIt initiative
“links to view-only, full-text subscription research articles can be posted anywhere – including on social media platforms, author websites and in institutional repositories – so researchers can share research with colleagues and general audiences.”
For now, let’s skate over the fact that this initiative is ‘read only’. As a SN author at this point, you might think – great. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
Those pesky Terms & Conditions
You have been sent the SharedIt link to your article and are excited because you’re told that you:
“Can post shareable links to view-only versions of [your] peer-reviewed research paper anywhere, including via social channels, institutional repositories and authors’ own websites as well as scholarly collaborative networks.”
It says ‘anywhere.’ Excellent. Then you read the SharedIt Terms & Conditions (Ts & Cs).
“We support a reasonable amount of sharing of content by authors, subscribers and authorised users (“Users”), for small-scale personal, non-commercial use provided that you maintain all copyright and other proprietary notices.
This is quite a difference: only a “reasonable amount of sharing” is supported. That is a long way from “anywhere”. It certainly doesn’t sound like the “wish to enable authors to share their research articles widely” SN started out with. ‘Small-scale’ is even more limiting. I would have expected researchers might want ‘mega-scale’, worldwide interest in and access to their hard-won work….”