In 1610, Galileo Galilei wrote a coded letter to his friend and colleague, Johannes Kepler, to claim his discovery of additional “planets” around Saturn (which were later identified as rings), in case anyone else discovered this before he could officially publish his finding. Fast forward 400 years to the online environment, in which researchers can more easily interact, collaborate, and share their results online across institutional and geographical boundaries, and Galileo could have published his article quickly enough to ensure that rather than stump his colleagues with an anagram, they could instead have collaborated to bring about new discoveries.
Collaboration is a vital part of research and scholarly activity, and being able to share published research accelerates the speed of knowledge and ensures that important discoveries are disseminated as widely as possible, benefitting researchers, institutions, and society as a whole. We know that authors value the ability to share content and Wiley has always supported and encouraged this, for instance by enabling authors to automatically share full text access with 10 of their colleagues and making it easier for authors and readers to share content in line with copyright.
Improving the way that researchers collaborate is a constantly evolving endeavor, and earlier this year we introduced Wiley Content Sharing, a new service which enables all those with access to content on Wiley Online Library to share a link with anyone, giving immediate, free, full-text access to a journal article. We trialed the technology, which is enabled by ReadCube, for 180 journals beginning in February, and in July we introduced it to all our journals. Evidence suggests that this functionality is popular and has the potential to increase reach: In the first six weeks after the full release, 27,400 links were generated by Wiley Online Library users, and an additional 7,500 links were generated by journal authors.
Supporting Research Communities
Publishing is a vital component of the acceleration of research discovery, and therefore journals must evolve as the research environment changes. One recent development in the area of content sharing is the growth of preprint servers. A preprint is a paper that is made available publicly via a community, not-for-profit preprint server prior to (or simultaneous with) submission to a journal. Posting versions of papers to community-run servers is a long-standing practice in high energy physics, but in recent months, other communities have begun to establish preprint infrastructure. Wiley’s recommended policy is that where preprint servers exist (and in many areas they do not and may never exist), journals should allow the submission of preprints, reflecting the needs of the community.
Another evolution is the development of Scholarly Collaboration Networks (SCNs) which have become increasingly popular as venues for sharing information. There are different kinds of SCNs; some are for-profit/commercial, and some are not. Recent research has shown an increase in the number of researchers posting their research in full on SCNs and using them to access research.
Wiley believes that sharing on SCNs should be simple and seamless for researchers, while upholding the principles of copyright. Together with other commercial and non-commercial publishers, including learned societies, we worked with the industry body for scholarly publishing, the STM Association, on the question of how sharing of articles can be facilitated in ways that meet the individual needs of researchers while enabling a vibrant and sustainable research ecosystem. This resulted in the release in 2015 of the Voluntary Principles for Article Sharing on Scholarly Collaboration Networks, a framework designed to safeguard the positive impact sharing has for researchers, institutions, and society as a whole. The Voluntary Principles have subsequently been endorsed by more than fifty organizations, including SCNs, learned societies, publishing service providers and scholarly publishers including Wiley.
As a continuation of this project, the STM Association recently launched a tool which provides accurate information and practical tools to assist with the sharing of subscription articles to make it easier for authors and readers alike to quickly check where and how they could share content. Wiley’s standard copyright transfer agreement allows researchers to share submitted versions of their papers in public repositories and STM’s tool enables this.
The sharing landscape continues to evolve. You will have heard from your Wiley Journal Manager
recently, for example, regarding our concerns about copyright infringement by ResearchGate. We will continue to update you as that discussion continues, and we will look forward to continuing to support tools and resources that facilitate the fair and legal sharing of content.
Further reading on this topic: Helping researchers answer the question “How can I share it?”