Many scholarly and peer-reviewed articles can be read for free on the Web. A number of tools exist to help discover research output more easily: through installing a browser extension or plug-in; by using academic search engines and archives; or, by contacting the author directly.
Some articles will however remain elusive – but the Library can help. The Library offers an Inter-Library Loan service which provides access to scholarly articles which are not available via the Library’s print or online collections, are not open access and cannot be found via plug-ins, search services or repositories.
Find articles using plug-ins
There are a number of browser extensions or plug-ins for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari which can be installed to facilitate finding articles which are open access. Some examples:
Unpaywall makes finding OA-articles easy for the individual user by installing a plug-in on Chrome or Firefox.
You can search Open Access Button directly on their website or download an extension for Chrome which makes finding open access articles easy. When OA Button hits a paywall, the service also sends off requests to authors asking them to deposit their articles in a subject or institutional repository in order to make their research open. Open Access Button is a non-profit organisation.
Kopernio offers a browser plug-in that makes it easier to find both open access versions of articles and articles which users have access to via institutional subscription. The service is free but belongs to Clarivate Analytics and you need to register in order to use the extension.
Find research articles using search engines, academic repositories or archives
- arXiv is a preprint archive mainly for physics, mathematics, computer sciences and related sciences. Run by Cornell University.
- bioRxiv is an archive for open access preprints in the life sciences operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
- DOAJ is a list of open access journals and a search service finding peer-reviewed and scholarly journals and articles.
- The Humanities Commons CORE repository is intended for open access articles, monographs and other publications and resources in the humanities. Humanities Commons is a nonprofit operation run by the MLA.
- OpenDOAR is a searchable global directory of open access repositories and their policies.
- OSF Preprints is a platform with openly accessible preprints, or submitted manuscripts which are publically distributed before acceptance and peer-review in a traditional scientific journal. OSF Preprints is developed by Centre for Open Science (COS), a non-profit organisation with the goal of greater openness and reproducible research.
- SocArXiv is an open archive of the social sciences for preprints, working papers and other outputs. It is operated by the University of Maryland and developed by the Center of Open Science (COS).
Contact the author
Researchers may share articles between themselves if this is permitted by agreements with their publishers, so-called ‘scholarly sharing.’ Please refer to Sherpa/Romeo to check current terms for the journal in question. When using the plug-in Open Access Button and hitting paywalled articles, requests to authors are sent asking them to deposit their articles in an open institutional or subject repository. There are also a number of social platforms for researchers, e.g. ResearchGate and Academia.edu.
(Adapted with thanks from: https://openaccess.blogg.kb.se/2018/07/01/alternative-routes-to-scholarly-articles-and-research-outputs/)