Retrieving the full text of articles/documents

Whilst databases and websites sometimes provide direct access to articles and documents, this is not always the case.

If you cannot get direct access from a resource you are searching there are a number of other options you can try to retrieve the full text of an article/document you want to use for your research.


CityLibrary Search

Databases subscribed to by the Library will automatically provide a link to CityLibrary Search if they don’t provide the full text of an article. The link will show if the Library provides access to the article.

However, you can also check CityLibrary Search to see if the Library provides access to other types of information. As well as articles CityLibrary Search provides access to grey literature such as conference proceedings, reports and doctorate dissertations.



If an article isn’t available through CityLibrary Search, it’s sometimes worth checking to see if you can access the article directly from the journal it’s in. You can search for journals the Library subscribes to through our Journals A-Z link.


Google Scholar

Google Scholar sometimes provides direct access to articles. Simply enter the title of the article you need, to see if the full text is available. If you are retrieving too many results, try putting the article title in quotes and / or adding the author’s last name.


Research Platforms

Researcher platforms like and ResearchGate, after setting up an account, allow you to download or request copies of articles.


Open access repositories

An open access repository is a digital platform that holds research output and provides free access to research results for anyone to use, download and distribute.

Many universities have their own repositories where they store research by their own academics and researchers. City’s research repository is called City Research Online (CRO).

The following are useful directories of repositories and/or open access papers:

  • CORE – allows you to search for open access papers.
  • OpenDOAR – a directory of repositories. You can use this if you know which institution the author of a paper you need is affiliated to.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – allows you to search for open access journals and articles.



If you know another University library provides access to a document you need, you will be able to visit it if they are part of the SCONUL Access scheme.


The British Library

You can also check the catalogue of the British Library.


Contacting authors

You could try emailing the author of a document. Contact details can sometimes be found through social networking sites like Linked In and Twitter.


Inter-library loans

If all else fails Library Services can try and obtain articles, reports, conference proceedings and dissertations for you from another library through our inter-library loan service.

There is a subsidised £3 charge for each request which is added to your library account. Some departments may have vouchers which academics and PhD students can use for inter-library loans.


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