Finding Open Access content

The amount of peer-reviewed open access articles available online is increasing every year, but it can be difficult to recognise and find them. Here are our top tips!

How do I recognise if an article is Open Access (OA)?

The open padlock symbol is a universal icon indicating whether an article is open access. Whenever you see this symbol online, you will have free access to the content in which it is embedded.

As well as being visible on open access platforms, this icon commonly appears in paid for subscription journals where authors have made their article openly accessible.

Where can I find OA articles?

The platforms listed below are a sample of the online platforms giving access to scholarly research.

CITY RESEARCH ONLINE Repository of City, University of London research papers.
CORE Search engine for articles in Open Access repositories and journals worldwide.
OPEN ACCESS BUTTON Search engine for articles in Open Access repositories and journals worldwide.
UNPAYWALL An open database of 20 million free scholarly articles.
DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals Directory of Open Access journals worldwide.
OpenDOAR Directory of Open Access repositories worldwide.
PLOS Open Access journal platform covering Science, Technology and Medicine.
arXiv Repository of pre-peer reviewed articles covering Science
and Economics.
bioRxiv Repository of pre-peer reviewed articles for Biology.
Preprints A multidisciplinary platform hosting pre-peer reviewed articles.
EThOS (British Library) Repository for PhD Theses from UK Universities – Create account for free.

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Browser extensions to find OA content

Overwhelmed? Can only find articles hidden behind paywalls? Browser extensions are here to help you.

Browser extensions are small software programmes which add specific functionality to your browsing experience. An open access browser extensions will search the Web for openly accessible copy of any scholarly text. Once installed on your browser, the extension will search for openly accessible copies of papers you find.

We suggest using Unpaywall and Open Access Button. Both will find content in Gold open access journals, Hybrid journals, institutional repositories, including City Research Online, disciplinary repositories and repository aggregates such as Share and CORE.

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