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Searching for open access articles

A growing share of academic articles are freely available on the internet. There are a number of browser extensions available that can help you find free and legal open access versions of articles that are behind a paywall.

Article versions

Preprint = a preprint is the original version of the manuscript as it is submitted to a journal (before acceptance or peer-review)

Postprint = the version of the article after peer-review, with revisions having been made. In terms of content, post-prints are the article as published. However, its appearance might not be the same as the published article.

Published version = the final and published version of the article, formatted and typeset by the publisher.

When you are visiting a web page that has information on a specific article – for instance a journal or a database – the services search behind the scenes to see if a free version is available.

Note that it may not be the final published version of the article that is retrieved – it may be a preprint or a postprint.

It is recommended to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as all of the below mentioned services supports these browsers.

Tools to find open access articles


Having installed the extension, a green padlock on the right of the screen indicates that the service has found an open access version of the article. Upon clicking the green padlock you are redirected to the free article. (If the padlock is grey, no free version was found)

Open Access Button

Open Access Button works in a similar way. Click on the padlock icon in the browser toolbar to initiate a search. It is also possible to use the service directly from the web page should you not prefer the browser extension.

EndNote Click

EndNote Click (formerly Kopernio) searches open databases as well as (where possible) the Library’s subscriptions. Requires registration.

Open access publications in Primo

A substantial amount of open access publications are also available in Primo, the Library’s search service. Open access resources include:

  • PubMed Central
  • DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)
  • DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books)
  • A number of publisher-specific open access collections