Alternative routes to scholarly articles and research outputs

Many scholarly and peer-reviewed articles can be read open access today on the web. A number of free services and archives have developed tools and services helping users to discover research output in an easy and simple way: through installing a browser extension or plug-in; by using academic search engines and archives, or, by contacting the author directly. In the following text, we list a selection of services and ways to find scientific articles. The choice is yours.

Photo: Christian Stahl, Unsplash


Search for open access articles

You can download and use browser extensions or plug-ins, or search directly in your favourite repository in order to find open access articles. Below we list examples of plug-ins, open archives and search services. Many libraries also integrate these services in their link resolvers for seamless access via their discovery services.

Contact the author

Researchers may share articles between themselves if this is permitted by agreements with their publishers, the so-called ‘scholarly sharing.’ Please refer to  Sherpa/Romeo to check current terms for the journal in question. When using the plug-in Open Access Button and hitting paywalled articles, requests to authors are sent asking them to deposit their articles in an open institutional or subject repository. There are also a number of social platforms for researchers, e.g. ResearchGate and

Contact your library

Scholarly articles which are not open access and cannot be found via plug-ins, search services or repositories can in many cases be ordered via document delivery services  (DDS/ILL) by your local library from other libraries in Sweden or abroad. Please contact your library for further information.

1. Find articles using plug-ins

There are a number of browser extensions or plug-ins for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari which can be installed to facilitate finding articles which are open access:


Unpaywall makes finding OA-articles easy for the individual user by installing a plug-in on Chrome or Firefox. Content from Unpaywall is also integrated into other services such as databases and link-resolvers.


You can search Open Access Button directly on their website or download an extension for Chrome which makes finding open access articles easy. They also offer integrated services for libraries, as interlibrary loans (ILL/DDS). When OA Button hits a paywall, the service also sends off requests to authors asking them to deposit their articles in a subject or institutional repository in order to make their research open. Open Access Button is a non-profit organisation.


Google Scholar Button is a browser extension available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. The extension makes finding full-text open access articles in Google Scholar easier and allows access to closed articles which a user has access to via their own institution’s subscriptions, by configuring Google Scholar with your library’s URL.


The Lazy Scholar extension finds open access articles and provides metrics and citations. Additionally, it can include articles behind paywalls via a user’s own institution’s subscriptions.


Kopernio is an extension finding both open access versions of articles and articles which users have access to via institutional subscriptions. The service is free but belongs to Clarivate Analytics and you need to register in order to use the extension.

2. Find research articles using search engines, academic repositories or archives (a selection of services by discipline in alphabetic order)


1findr (free version)

1findr is a commercial platform for searching articles in peer-reviewed journals which also offers a free version. This version allows no advanced search option apart from narrowing results to include open access articles only.

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine and index for academic resources contains about 120 million documents. Around 60 % of its indexed content  is open access.

CORE’s search engine and index for aggregated research publications from repositories and journals globally. Developed by JISC and the Open University it offers access to around 133 million articles.

(free version)

Apart from searching for publications and the possibility to search for cited and citing articles, Dimensions also indexes grants, patents, and clinical trials. The free version offers limited possibilities.  

DOAJ is a list of open access journals and a search service finding peer-reviewed and scholarly journals and articles.

Google Scholar is an index and search engine for academic content on the web.

OpenDOAR is a searchable global directory of open access repositories and their policies.

OSF Preprints is a platform with openly accessible preprints, or submitted manuscripts which are publically distributed before acceptance and peer-review in a traditional scientific journal. An advantage of publishing preprints is the speeding up of scientific communication and of sharing research results earlier, as it can take a long time between submission of an article till publication. OSF Preprints is developed by Centre for Open Science (COS), a non-profit organisation with the goal of greater openness and reproducible research.

Zenodo is an open archive developed by CERN where researchers can deposit publications, preprints, software, and research data.

bioRxiv is an archive for open access preprints in the life sciences operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

The Humanities Commons CORE repository is intended for open access articles, monographs and other publications and resources in the humanities. Humanities Commons is a nonprofit operation run by the MLA.

PMC is a subject repository with open access articles in medicine and biology run by the National Library of Medicine.

arXiv is a preprint archive mainly for physics, mathematics, computer sciences and related sciences. Run by Cornell University.

SocArXiv is an open archive of the social sciences for preprints, working papers and other outputs. It is operated by the University of Maryland and developed by the Center of Open Science (COS).

Further reading

OAD is an open access community edited wiki hosted at The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Simmons College.

”Musings about librarianship” is a blog authored by Aaron Tay with cutting-edge information about discovery services, open access tools, library analytics, future disruptions and more.