Cambridge University Press unveils new content-sharing platform

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CUP have just announced their plans for a new platform to promote the legal sharing of academic research.  Named Cambridge Core Share, the scheme means that CUP will become the first University Press to operate a sustainable PDF sharing solution.  The platform comes into broad effect in 2018, and MIT are expected to begin to use their own Kudos platform shortly after.

CUP have declared that the platform ‘provides the academic community and wider public with greater access to research.’  Matthew Day, CUP’s head of access, cites the accessibility of PDFs as the central issue with online academia.  Cambridge Core Share will make obscure documents easier to find and formalize the distribution of the readily available ones.  At the moment, some documents have been shared everywhere – Day notes, ‘sometimes legitimately, sometimes its outright piracy.’

The new platform will also make the process of tracking the usage of documents far easier.  Before now, once files were downloaded by readers, it was impossible to see how many times and by whom they were being read.  The new platform promotes the integrity of research, as everything will be closely traceable.

In light of how many times some research has been illegitimately shared, Day told The Bookseller that some librarians may want to cancel subscriptions which they think are being wasted on journals because the research is so readily available online.  Instead, by formalizing the system of academic sharing, it is foreseeable that all journals will want to work with this kind of sharing platform, limiting how much they can be illicitly spread.  The pilot will start out with 120 subscriptions and hybrid journals and its holdings will contain more than 1 million journal articles.

This plan will hopefully encourage academics to publish their work in this safe environment, rendering the process of research and learning more sustainable.  Alan Jarvis, global publishing director of the Taylor & Francis Books Division said of their own similar scheme that ‘ninety percent of those [academics] who participated stated that the opportunity to share their work would impact their decision on where to publish in the future.’  If CUP’s new pilot is a success, it will be hugely positive for the sustainable dissemination of academia.

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