Searching for open access articles
FAQ: I am creating an online resource and would like to ensure that my reading list comprises only texts that are open access (OA). Where can I find suitable content?
There are plenty of open access articles and papers out there, if you know where to look. In the list below I have focused on text based materials rather than other resource types.
General repository search (all subjects):
- CORE – harvests a large number of repositories, claiming to index over 20 million articles.
- OAIster – now run by WorldCat – includes 30 million records, including text, audio, video, images and datasets.
- Digital Commons Network – has a colourful subject wheel to facilitate browsing; indexes repositories supported by Digital Commons software.
- OpenDOAR repository search and Registry of Open Access Repositories – OpenDOAR and ROAR are both registries of repositories; they each have a Google Custom Search box to enable searching of content.
Subject specific repositories:
- ArXiv – the original and best known subject repository – nearly one million articles in physics, maths, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics.
- Europe PubMed Central – biomedical and health subjects – has a filter for OA content on its Advanced Search page.
- RePEc – 1.4 million research papers in economics.
- Social Science Research Network – nearly 500,000 full text papers and a similar number abstract only.
Open Access journals:
- Directory of Open Access Journals – lists nearly 10,000 OA journals (all subjects), over half searchable at article level.
- Public Library of Science – OA journals in sciences, biology and medicine; over 100,000 articles.
- Directory of Open Access Books – indexes over 2000 OA books with links to publishers’ copies.
- OAPEN – over 2000 downloadable OA books in humanities and social sciences.
- Google Scholar – includes both OA and subscription resources but worth a try if there’s something specific that you are after (for example, you may find an OA copy of a subscription article). Click on the down arrow in the search box to access Advanced Search.
- Google Books – claims to have millions of books that can be previewed or read for free but (as far as I can see) there is no filter to isolate the OA content.
- FreeFullPDF – “over 80 million free scientific publications” – but sources are unspecified [added 28/7/14]
If you are aware of any other service that might usefully be included in this list then please do let me know and I’ll make sure it is added.