As anyone who has tried to pursue even a little bit of academic research can attest, publishers charge an arm-and-a-leg to access studies if you are not part of an institution that subscribes to their journals. And the authors of those studies don’t even get any of that money!
Last year, Sci-Hub broke through that barrier in one attempt (which may or may not be legal) to create more access – see The Best Commentaries On Sci-Hub, The Tool Providing Access to 50 Million Academic Papers For Free.
Today, another option was unveiled.
Today we’re launching a new tool to help people read research literature, instead of getting stuck behind paywalls. It’s an extension for Chrome and Firefox that links you to free full-text as you browse research articles. Hit a paywall? No problem: click the green tab and read it free!
The extension is called Unpaywall, and it’s powered by an open index of more than ten million legally-uploaded, open access resources.
You can read more about it at Announcing Unpaywall: unlocking #openaccess versions of paywalled research articles as you browse (which is the source of the above quote) and at TechCrunch, Unpaywall scours the web for free versions of scientific papers.
Apparently, many institutions now require their faculty upload their published papers to their libraries, and that is a primary source for Unpaywall research.
I just tried it and it seems to work fairly well…