Answered By: Caltech Research Librarians
Last Updated: Mar 06, 2019     Views: 17

Great question!

You can set up a Zotero group library as a specific 'Group Type' that will help prevent copyright infringement.

(1) If you create a public group library with open membership, the following restrictions apply (because Zotero is designed to curb copyright infringement):

  • Full text PDFs cannot be seen by anyone (Zotero group members or nonmembers)
  • You are not able to download full text PDFs into your Zotero group library from a website using Zotero Connector
  • You are not able to drag and drop full text PDFs into your Zotero group library

(2) If you create a public group library with closed membership or if you create a private group library:

  • Generally, Zotero's restrictions do not apply
  • Therefore, it is up to you to determine whether a PDF can be legally shared or not based on its copyright or open access status. For example:
    • You are allowed to share a published article with a Creative Commons license
    • A copyright owner may grant you permission to share an article
    • If your group comprises only Caltech faculty, staff, and/or students, the Caltech subscription negotiated by the library may allow for local sharing
    • If you obtained a full text PDF via Docuserve or bought it from a publisher's site, your right to share with others may be limited by the terms and conditions of the service you used
    • When in doubt, please send questions to your friendly Caltech Librarians at library@caltech.edu