“It was against this backdrop that I read Exploring Researcher Preference for the Version of Record, which reported on research Springer Nature conducted in collaboration with ResearchGate. It is perhaps obvious to caveat that it is in Springer Nature’s interests to use this study to reinforce the value of the VOR, a central position of a recent keynote by CEO Frank Vrancken Peeters at the APE 2021 conference.
The study was conducted “in situ” and leveraged the Springer Nature syndication pilot project that posted VOR articles for access on the ResearchGate platform. As Mithu Lucraft, Director for Content Marketing Strategy, of the Springer Nature Group and one of the study’s co-authors explained to me, the survey was presented to ResearchGate users that were logged in and who had interacted with at least one Springer Nature publication in the 60 days prior to the survey being live in October 2020.
Importantly, survey participants were not only asked to choose which version of an article they prefer but also which versions they would feel comfortable using for different purposes. In many cases, participants indicated that multiple different versions would be acceptable for a given use, which indicates that a preprint or accepted manuscript can substitute for the VOR in some use cases but perhaps not all. …”
“In March 2019, Springer Nature and ResearchGate entered a unique partnership to explore new ways for researchers to share content. The goal was to combine Springer Nature’s expertise in publishing high-quality research with ResearchGate’s online platform of millions of scientists, and deliver a better experience for the communities served by both organisations.
To evaluate the success of the partnership, we carried out an author survey of nearly 700 researchers after the first phase of the pilot partnership in April 2019. Following the second pilot phase, we also conducted in-depth interviews with librarians from North America and Europe. Furthermore, we analysed usage data of the content from Springer Nature that was syndicated to ResearchGate and compared authentication data from ResearchGate with that of Springer Nature. Having now entered a long-term content sharing partnership and we’re thrilled to share what we’ve learnt so far. This white paper informs you about:
How the unique partnership works and its goals
Benefits to researchers, authors, librarians and others identified so far
Areas for further analysis, discussion, and future developments….”
Today, ResearchGate and Springer Nature are jointly announcing the findings of their syndication pilot. In this partnership, as we have previously analyzed, Springer Nature distributes the version of record of articles from several dozen journals to ResearchGate for access. Users with institutional entitlements can download the PDF, while other users are presented with a read-only version. Today’s white paper from the partners reports positive responses from authors and plan to transition this pilot into an ongoing service. From the publisher perspective, article usage is up and leakage is contained. And, ResearchGate, which added a partnership with Wiley during the Springer Nature pilot, emerges as a stronger identity and access platform and a potential counterweight to Elsevier….
The success of this pilot shows convincingly that we should anticipate future syndication partnerships — as the report itself states emphatically. We look forward to seeing which other publishers elect to syndicate their content to ResearchGate; we certainly expect to see Wiley do so before Elsevier! But equally, we await seeing whether publishers will begin to syndicate their content to any other scholarly collaboration networks, discovery services, courseware systems, research workflow tools, or other platforms. The details of such arrangements are likely to vary both across different types of publishers as well as different types of syndication platforms. Over time we expect to see a few predominant models and related standards and principles emerge. ”