Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How to Legally Share Your Research Article: Home

Guidance on how to legally share a research article using social media platforms such as ResearchGate, in light of the recent legal action taken by Elsevier against the platform for inappropriate sharing.


How Can I Share my Research

How can I share my research? This question has recently been heightened by legal action taken by the American Chemical Society and academic publishing giant Elsevier against ResearchGate, the popular academic social media platform through which many researchers share their papers with colleagues. (Inside HigherEd Article about lawsuit.)

In general, it is a breach of license to openly share a peer-reviewed research article on a platform like ResearchGate. Instead, the best practice is to share a citation or link to the article, such as the article's DOI, allowing for those who see your post to access it via their individual institutional accounts.

A good practice to increase access and give you wider ability to share your work is to upload your preprint article to an institutional repository. ESF maintains a Digital Commons database for this purpose. The vast majority of publishers accept the publishing of an preprint (pre-peer review) article to Institutional Repositories such as ours, which can than be shared via Open Access, allowing you to share them with whomever and however you like.‚Äč

If you would like to upload the preprint of any article to our Digital Commons, please contact Casey Koons at Moon Library and have ready:

  • The name of your publisher, or a copy of your publisher's license agreement for review.
  • The pre-print copy of your research article (as well as any corresponding data you may wish to share)
  • The URL or DOI of your published article, if you know it.

Digital Commons is indexed by Google and Google Scholar and provides a high level of accessibility for your research.


  • Coalition for Responsible Sharing: Elsevier's full statement regarding sharing on platforms like ResearchGate.
  • How Can I Share It?: Elsevier's sharing tool, will provide suggestions for how to share an article based on it's DOI and authorship status. Nearly every search reveals the Institutional Repositories are allowed.

Casey Koons

Where to find the DOI

You can find the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for an article by looking at the details page for the article on a database like Science Direct.

Find the DOI of an article on the details page for the article in a database like Science Direct

Elsevier Policy on Preprint articles

Elisevier's policy on preprints as of October 2018:


  • Authors can share their preprint anywhere at any time.
  • If accepted for publication, we encourage authors to link from the preprint to their formal publication via its Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Millions of researchers have access to the formal publications on ScienceDirect, and so links will help your users to find, access, cite, and use the best available version.
  • Authors can update their preprints on arXiv or RePEc with their accepted manuscript .

Please note:

  • Some society-owned titles and journals that operate double-blind peer review have different preprint policies. Please check the journals Guide for Authors for further information.
  • Preprints should not be added to or enhanced in any way in order to appear more like, or to substitute for, the final versions of articles.