This video from PHDComics gives a summary of many of the issues and drivers behind open access.
Open Access (OA) means making research publications freely available so anyone can benefit from reading and using research.
Open Access can be more than making research available to read, but also allowing others to re-use that research. For example, allowing the content to be analysed using text mining or reused for commercial purposes. Research data and books are also increasingly made available openly.
Open Access is part of a wider ‘open’ movement to encourage free exchange of knowledge and resources in order to widen access and encourage creativity.
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A third to a half of articles have an Open Access (OA) version, but finding them can be a challenge. You can save time with these easy-to-install OA discovery tools that search repositories, preprint servers, etc. for you.
We recommend Lean Library over other OA browser plugins, but below is a list of some other options which you can use alongside to enhance your searching on the internet.
CORE Discovery finds Open Access copies of articles, using the CORE dataset of millions of full text OA papers, as well as the data of other providers.
CORE Discovery arguably has an edge on other extensions because it is backed by the CORE data and the CORE services' lead in harvesting OA literature.
CORE Discovery claims to have "the best grip on open content from open repositories as opposed to other services that disproportionately focus only on content indexed in major commercial databases."
CORE Discovery also claims to be the only discovery system that can locate scientific content even for items with an unknown DOI or which do not have a DOI.
The tool is available as:
Open Access Button searches thousands of sources containing millions of articles to connect you to an article instantly if it is freely available. The Button now comes from OA Works.
The Open Access Button also provides a service of requesting an article from the author if you don't have access via subscription and the article isn't yet OA. Open Access Button helps authors to make their article OA and supports the growth of research available in the public domain by enabling the process in this way.
The Unpaywall plugin searches the Unpaywall database which works by harvesting from Open Access sources to find OA content and then matching that content to the Crossref DOI, so for any DOI searched via the plugin, Unpaywall "knows about any OA versions that exist anywhere".
The Unpaywall extension is already integrated into many search and discovery tools and platforms, including Lean Library, OCLC, Scopus, Web of Science, and Dimensions.
You may add the plugin to your browser in addition, but if you have installed Lean Library, you will already be searching Unpaywall's database because Lean Library searches Unpaywall when access is not available via the Library's subscriptions.