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Open Access Week 2019

Celebrating Open Access Week 2019  - some useful tools

This year's Open Access Week theme asks "Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge". Open Access is about making scholarly outputs accessible to those who might want them. But there are many barriers to access, some complex, some as simple as awareness.

There are a number of online tools and resources that can help deliver Open Access content to a wide audience including databases, indexes and browser extensions. Examples include Sherpa Romeo, Unpaywall, Lazy Scholar, Open Access Button and 1finder.  They are available for free and can assist at various stages of the research lifecycle. In the early stages of your research Open Button can help you plan a literature review. When you are considering where to publish, Sherpa Romeo will give easy to digest information about how your favoured journals will allow you to share your paper with an audience after publication.

Open Access Manuscript

When reading around a subject:

Open Access Button


This useful extension can be added to most web browsers to help you find a wide range of Open Access resources. It becomes active when your web browser is directed at a journal article. When you use the Button, it will either take you straight to a free copy of the research article or help you ask the author to freely share the article with you. Simply clicking on the extension once you are on a specific journal article page provides an easy tool to identify research material in the preliminary stages of research.



Produced by 1Science, 1findr is a curated index composed exclusively of articles published in academic, scientific and technological research journals. It comprises articles in many academic fields, covering arts, humanities, social sciences, behavioural sciences, health sciences, natural sciences and engineering. Its aim is to provide access to articles published all over the world solely in peer-reviewed and editorially reviewed journals, as far as technically and commercially possible, and to make sure that journals are not excluded on non-academic grounds. Based on a bibliographic index covering more than 90 million articles from 80,000 academic and scientific journals, 1findr is the largest curated collection of scholarly articles. You can also perform one-click download of full-text papers among a growing collection of more than 25 million articles using smart link resolver technology.

Lazy Scholar


Another browser extension that can be used to search for free full text is Lazy Scholar. It also provides citation metrics, suggestions for related papers based on your search history and saved pre-formatted quick citations in over 900 styles. Lazy Scholar can also attempt to extract references, PICO information, abbreviations, and more from PDFs and non-PDFs.



Unpaywall is a database of over twenty-four million free scholarly articles. It harvests Open Access content from many sources, matching documents to article DOIs using content fingerprints. The result is an index of available OA versions for a given paper. This can benefit scholars in several ways.
Firstly, somewhat like Open Access Button, if you have the Unpaywall browser extension installed and view the landing page of a journal article you are interested in reading, it will indicate whether any open access versions of that paper are available. If there are you can then access the full text with one click. For those interested, the extension also offers an “OA Nerd Mode” for more details of the document’s OA.
You can also search the Unpaywall database by DOI using their free “Simple Query Tool” to see how a given paper or group of papers have been made open access and where. This might be useful to get a sense of the open access compliance of a group of your published papers, though this will depend on what your funder requires in terms of open access.


When deciding where to publish:



Sherpa Romeo is a searchable database that explains publisher’s policies towards self -archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories. This tool is best used in the publication and post-publication stages of research for better informing yourself of the way in which your research can be made available to the general public.
If an author wants to put their research articles online, they are faced with an increasingly complex situation. Evidence shows that articles made openly accessible in this way are cited more often than research that is simply published in journals. Also some funding agencies require open access archiving for their research, to increase the use and impact of research. However, some publishers prohibit authors from using their own articles in this way. Others allow it, but only under certain conditions, while a handful are quite happy for authors to share their work freely. Sherpa  RoMEO helps to clarify the situation. Containing publishers' general policies on self-archiving of journal articles and certain conference series, each entry provides a summary of the publisher's policy, including what version of an article can be deposited. The database is easily searchable - either by the title of the Journal or by the ISSN and provides authors with the possibility to ‘Suggest an update’ that makes its service constantly up to date with journal titles or the changes in their open access policies.


When trying to increase impact and visibility of your published paper:



A free service that aims to help researchers increase the visibility and impact of their publications, Kudos is designed for those wanting support finding the best routes to boost citation and usage ( tool is best used in the post-publication stage of your research by helping you share your work and make it more visible to those interested in your field.

Explaining your publications with Kudos

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