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Access to full text papers via alternative routes

Alternatives to gaining access to full text papers

Although the full text may not be available to you, publishers share Tables of Content and abstracts on their website, and through alerting services such as

Maybe the authors have a profile on or, where they share their publications. You can create a free account on both platforms to have more and better access.

Next to the by now well known ArXiv for author versions of articles in the fields of Physics, Maths, and Computer Science, there are now also SocArXiv, in the social sciences, BiorXiv, on Biosciences and engrXiv containing articles on engineering sciences. In this same category you can find both articles, datasets, images and other resources on FigShare, also here if you create a free account, more options are available.

If you find an interesting title, you may try to contact the authors (via the “corresponding author”) and ask for a personal copy. This is allowed under the fair use agreements.

You could try to find an open version on the internet.  Several methods exit:

  1. Copy the full title into and you get the location of open versions on the right hand side of the page (if available), for instance on researchgate.
  2. Copy the full title into and add filetype:pdf (assuming that sharing will be done with pdf).
  3. Copy the full title in, filter for title.
  4. Check, which has a Google Custom Search engine working on repositories, and will give more precise results than a general google search
  5. Go to PubmedCentral, a full-text archive of biomedical and life science articles, used (among others) for providing open access to research funded by NIH and NIH-related organisations.

Other options are through plug-inns or social media:
Add the extension unpaywall from to your browser (for Chrome and Firefox) and get notified whether an open version is available.

Ask on Twitter with #icanhazpdf .

And oucourse via the library you can apply for a copy through InterLibraryLoan.  Requests for OUP articles published after May 2017 will be delivered, if allowed by the publishers’ agreements. These will be free of charge for scientific staff.



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