The number of journal articles hidden behind paywalls that can also be legally and openly accessed is continuously increasing. But it can sometimes be tricky to find such versions of articles. Luckily, there are tools, specifically browser extensions, which help you locate openly accessible copies of journal articles and other scholarly texts.
What are browser extensions and how do they work?
Browser extensions are small software programs 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.
There are two types of browser extensions for open access content – those which look purely for open access content and those which look for both open access articles and content subscribed to by your academic library.
Browser extensions for open access content
Once installed on your browser, the extension will search for openly accessible copies of papers you find. Both Unpaywall and Open Access Button 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.
Browser extensions for open access and content subscribed to by your academic library
These work the same as the other open access browser extensions, with one difference; these browser extensions, such as LibKey Nomad, (which requires your academic library has a Browzine subscription, which City Library does) will tell you if a scholarly text is available through your academic library.
Which browser extension is the best?
All these browser extensions will find the same open access content, the main difference is in how they behave in your browser as each has a different way to notify you when open access content is found. So the best way to find out the browser extension which would suit you is by giving them a try.