Combat uncontrolled content sharing with flexible access management

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At the 2015 STM Frankfurt Conference, Roger Schonfeld of not-for-profit think-tank Ithaka S&R made the point, in a talk entitled ‘Dismantling the stumbling blocks that impede researchers access to e-resources’, that researchers face multiple barriers to accessing and using digital content. He demonstrated that to access a single piece of newly-published content on a mobile device, or indeed a PC, a researcher can be faced with up to four digital dead ends and untold user experience issues.

With this kind of research experience, it’s unsurprising that researchers turn to illegal sharing practises on social collaboration networks when accessing a posted pdf is so much easier for the researcher’s contacts than engaging in the contortions often necessary to access materials.

After all, researchers sharing content is nothing new. From the earliest transcribed scrolls through to articles shared on social media, the history of academic collaboration is long and – for the most part– noble. Sharing content to disseminate results, discuss findings and promote research discovery are essential functions of academia. 

It is only with mass, uncontrolled sharing that collaboration has become a threat to academic publishing. Social collaboration networks such as Research Gate, Academia.edu and Mendeley have become threats because they make the widespread illegal sharing of content easy. 

As Richard Padley, Semantico Co-founder and Chairman, proposed at APE 2016, the answer is to make legal sharing easy for researchers. 

It is with a smooth and effortless user experience that publishers can make licensed content platforms the preferred portal for research acce

At the 2015 STM Frankfurt Conference, Roger Schonfeld of not-for-profit think-tank Ithaka S&R made the point, in a talk entitled ‘Dismantling the stumbling blocks that impede researchers access to e-resources’, that researchers face multiple barriers to accessing and using digital content. He demonstrated that to access a single piece of newly-published content on a mobile device, or indeed a PC, a researcher can be faced with up to four digital dead ends and untold user experience issues.

With this kind of research experience, it’s unsurprising that researchers turn to illegal sharing practises on social collaboration networks when accessing a posted pdf is so much easier for the researcher’s contacts than engaging in the contortions often necessary to access materials.

After all, researchers sharing content is nothing new. From the earliest transcribed scrolls through to articles shared on social media, the history of academic collaboration is long and – for the most part– noble. Sharing content to disseminate results, discuss findings and promote research discovery are essential functions of academia. 

It is only with mass, uncontrolled sharing that collaboration has become a threat to academic publishing. Social collaboration networks such as Research Gate, Academia.edu and Mendeley have become threats because they make the widespread illegal sharing of content easy. 

As Richard Padley, Semantico Co-founder and Chairman, proposed at APE 2016, the answer is to make legal sharing easy for researchers. 

It is with a smooth and effortless user experience that publishers can make licensed content platforms the preferred portal for research access. By eliminating the need to leave the content platform in order to share content, then that platform becomes the sharing mechanism of choice. 

The Nature Publishing Group led the way when it introduced sharing buttons for its content a few years ago. At once, it became simple for researchers to share content and for the publisher themselves to gain insight into that activity. 

Aside from enabling checks into abuse of the system, data insight on sharing can be used to make more informed decisions editorially and commercially. To take an example, if a user from a subscribing institution were to regularly share articles with a colleague in a non-subscribing institution, then the publisher has usage information to use in a sales discussion with librarians at the non-subscribing institution. 

With interdisciplinary research methods and the integration of content gaining importance, this kind of insight into the journey of content beyond pay walls is invaluable business insight. Making legal content sharing easy would also boost its discoverability, potentially increasing its usage, the number of citations it gains and, as a result, the publishing journal’s impact factor.  

The strongest argument of all for allowing the effortless sharing of content, however, is that it develops the service for the researcher – surely the essential role of the publisher? Although the digital age has disrupted traditional business models for publishers, it has also brought opportunities to evolve its services, many of which have been overlooked. 

Academic publishing has ignored the lessons learned from the music industry. Hit first by illegal sharing, it seemed for a time it was doomed. But the dark days of Napster enabling mass illegal content sharing have given way to new services such as Spotify. 

Social collaboration networks have provided a means of relatively easily sharing content, funded by advertising. To encourage researchers back into the fold, publishers need to make researcher’s lives easier and make it simpler to share content without leaving the publisher’s proprietary platform. It is only by enabling and supporting researchers that publishing will once more become an indispensable function of academia. 

The SAMS Sigma flexible access management system enables the simple sharing of individual content as a link, rather than a pdf, from a licensed user to a non-licensed. From this the publisher gains valuable insight into the collaboration activities of the academic communities around their content and are able to access data on what content is shared, with whom, and when. For more information, contact Gaynor Redvers-Mutton at gaynor.redvers-mutton@semantico.com

Have your say about the future of Identity and Access Management by taking five minutes to complete our survey

Click here to view Roger Schonfeld's session at STM 2015  

ss. By eliminating the need to leave the content platform in order to share content, then that platform becomes the sharing mechanism of choice. 

The Nature Publishing Group led the way when it introduced sharing buttons for its content a few years ago. At once, it became simple for researchers to share content and for the publisher themselves to gain insight into that activity. 

Aside from enabling checks into abuse of the system, data insight on sharing can be used to make more informed decisions editorially and commercially. To take an example, if a user from a subscribing institution were to regularly share articles with a colleague in a non-subscribing institution, then the publisher has usage information to use in a sales discussion with librarians at the non-subscribing institution. 

With interdisciplinary research methods and the integration of content gaining importance, this kind of insight into the journey of content beyond pay walls is invaluable business insight. Making legal content sharing easy would also boost its discoverability, potentially increasing its usage, the number of citations it gains and, as a result, the publishing journal’s impact factor.  

The strongest argument of all for allowing the effortless sharing of content, however, is that it develops the service for the researcher – surely the essential role of the publisher? Although the digital age has disrupted traditional business models for publishers, it has also brought opportunities to evolve its services, many of which have been overlooked. 

Academic publishing has ignored the lessons learned from the music industry. Hit first by illegal sharing, it seemed for a time it was doomed. But the dark days of Napster enabling mass illegal content sharing have given way to new services such as Spotify. 

Social collaboration networks have provided a means of relatively easily sharing content, funded by advertising. To encourage researchers back into the fold, publishers need to make researcher’s lives easier and make it simpler to share content without leaving the publisher’s proprietary platform. It is only by enabling and supporting researchers that publishing will once more become an indispensable function of academia. 

The SAMS Sigma flexible access management system enables the simple sharing of individual content as a link, rather than a pdf, from a licensed user to a non-licensed. From this the publisher gains valuable insight into the collaboration activities of the academic communities around their content and are able to access data on what content is shared, with whom, and when. For more information, contact Gaynor Redvers-Mutton at gaynor.redvers-mutton@semantico.com

Have your say about the future of Identity and Access Management by taking five minutes to complete our survey

Click here to view Roger Schonfeld's session at STM 2015  

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