SharedIt: Springer Nature’s Free Content Sharing Initiative

By: Laura Graham-Clare, Tue Jul 18 2017
Laura Graham-Clare

Author: Laura Graham-Clare

Articles have been successfully shared by authors, subscribers and media outlets over 3.25 million times during the first year of SharedIt, Springer Nature’s free content sharing initiative.

SharedIt was launched in October 2016 and covers over 2,700 journals including all the Springer Nature-owned portfolio and over 1,000 co-owned and partner-owned journals. This industry-leading initiative enables authors and subscribers to post links to free-to-read versions of research articles anywhere, including social media platforms, repositories, websites, scholarly collaboration networks and via email.

Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer, Springer Nature, said: “For too long ‘sharing’ has been a difficult word in academic publishing. We believe we work at the behest of our authors and subscribers, and as the ability to share their work and collaborate around new research is critical to them, it needs to be critical to us as well. Our investment in SharedIt is testament to this. I am delighted therefore to see SharedIt embraced so strongly by our authors and our readers, and both across the globe and our portfolio. We are sharing these data now as part of a wider programme to encourage others to apply similar sharing approaches.”

The SharedIt data show:

  • SharedIt links were used to read Springer Nature articles 3,276,125 times, by readers in over 200 markets and from almost 29,000 institutions.
  • The majority of links used to access articles were those originally shared by subscribers to Springer Nature journals (1.24 million).
  • Links shared by authors were accessed 1.15 million times and those included in news articles by media outlets 885,195 times.
  • The United States leads the way in readers using SharedIt links, with over a third of those accessing links to read Springer Nature papers coming from the US.

Steven Inchcoombe continued: “Research needs to be as discoverable, accessible, understandable, and as shareable as possible.  SharedIt was developed with exactly this purpose in mind, it delivers unique links to copies of the ‘version of record’ articles that will be updated for any post-publication changes and can be highlighted and annotated by those sharing the links. All of this underlines our commitment to enabling new research findings to be read and used by those who support and enable research, by those who help these findings to be applied for the benefit of all, as well as the interested wider public. We are excited by the potential these numbers suggest and are keen to explore adding more of the journals of our society partners to the initiative to enable even greater sharing of the research that we publish.”  

Most highly shared accessed papers

The papers most accessed using SharedIt links were:

  • The artificial intelligence paper ‘Hybrid computing using a neural network with dynamic external memory’, published in Nature, was the most popular and accessed 43,869 times.
  • The second most popular paper was also an artificial intelligence paper published in Nature, ‘Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge’, reaching 42,286 accesses.
  • In third, with 25,402 accesses, was a Nature Medicine paper ‘A chronic low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) restores cognitive function in old mice’.

Top ten most highly-accessed papers

Number of accesses
Hybrid computing using a neural network with dynamic external memory
Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge
A chronic low dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) restores cognitive function in old mice
Nature Medicine

Large-scale physical activity data reveal worldwide activity inequality

Dermatologist-level classification of skin cancer with deep neural networks

Genome-wide association meta-analysis of 78,308 individuals identifies new loci and genes influencing human intelligence
Nature Genetics

CRISPR–Cas encoding of a digital movie into the genomes of a population of living bacteria


New fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco and the pan-African origin of Homo sapiens

Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C
Nature Geoscience

Metformin alters the gut microbiome of individuals with treatment-naive type 2 diabetes, contributing to the therapeutic effects of the drug
Nature Medicine


Most prolific users by country

Readers in the United States used the most SharedIt links generated by subscribers in the first year, totalling 513,370 clicks, followed by the UK, Germany, Brazil and Canada.

In the case of links shared by authors, readers in the US again led the way clicking on 393,956 links, followed by Germany, the UK, India and China.  Other countries also showing strong engagement with the SharedIt initiative included France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Australia.

Top ten users of subscriber links
Top ten users of author links
1. United States
1. United States
2. United Kingdom
2. Germany
3. Germany
3. United Kingdom
4. Brazil
4. India
5. Canada
5. China
6. Italy
6. Canada
7. France
7. Brazil
8. Mexico
8. Australia
9. Japan
9. Italy
10. Spain
10. Japan

For more information about SharedIt, please visit:

Laura Graham-Clare

Author: Laura Graham-Clare

Laura Graham-Clare is Head of Community Content, based in London. Working between our publishing, sales and marketing teams, she is focused on thought leadership trends, content creation, and developing insights and information resources for staff, librarians, researchers and information professionals.