Unpaywall and OAButton Add-ons Put Open Access Research at your Fingertips

Worried about the cost of doing research when the online article you need is protected by a paywall? You’ll be glad to learn you may not have to pay for that article after all. Unpaywall and Open Access Button are add-ons you can install to your browser that will search for free copies of paywalled articles. Both services are fast, free, and legal! And please find out more about the University’s own scholarly repository for theses and dissertations, data sets, and other online content by visiting the Library’s Libra page.

After installing Unpaywall, any research you find online will be searched to see if Unpaywall has a free copy. If so, you’ll see a green tab with an unlocked symbol. Just click the tab, and read. Skip the paywall on millions of peer-reviewed journal articles.

Unpaywall “harvests” millions of research papers available for free from thousands of legal institutional repositories: government and university web servers, scholarly societies, authors who have uploaded papers with the expressed permission of publishers, and even publishers themselves—all legally available to use in your own research. Unpaywall will never harvest from sources of dubious legality; and they handle requests with complete confidentiality and won’t track your browsing history.

The  Open Access Button add-on works in a way similar to Unpaywall, but with the additional feature, that if OAButton isn’t able to locate a freely-available, authorized, full-text version of an article, it will contact the author on your behalf, and ask for a copy. You’ll need to provide your email address.

But before OAButton creates a request to the author, it checks to see if an article is not already legally available somewhere else. Sources include all of the aggregated repositories in the world!

When an article or dataset isn’t available, OAButton asks the authors to share it, and helps authors to share fast, legally, and widely so that not only you get access—everyone does, forever! The end result is no more paywalls and the data you need at your fingertips.

Requests made through OAButton’s system are public, so they’ll motivate authors and hold them accountable. OAButton believes that since Research is publicly funded, it should be shared. Articles are stored in Zenodo and data in the Open Science Framework for safe keeping.

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