How to open up access to many more journal articles – all for free!

Wouldn’t it be handy if you could easily check to see if there was an open access version of a paper that wasn’t available to you through the Alumni Library Online’s subscriptions? Well, Unpaywall could be just what you’re looking for!

Unpaywall finds free versions of paywalled papers from a database of about 10 million. The main difference between Unpaywall and Sci-Hub (which you may have used before), is that Unpaywall directs you to papers that authors have legally uploaded to free research repositories online (like CERES here at Cranfield). It has been developed by a nonprofit website called Impactstory, whose aim is to help researchers ‘explore and share the online impact of their work’ [1].

To get it working you need to download an extension to your browser, and it is currently only available for the Firefox and Chrome browsers. If you use Firefox, you can see the small green icon for it on your tool bar here (circled):

Once you’ve downloaded the extension, click on the icon and choose the ‘options’ cog. Select the ‘Colour-code tab for green and gold OA’ option. This is how it looks once you have landed on a page containing the details of an article. The icon of the gold unlocked padlock shows that this is a gold OA version of the paper:

And here’s what a green OA paper looks like:

Just click on the padlock to view the full text.

For more information and to download the browser extension go to unpaywall.org.

Public domain image from unsplash.com.


[1] Impactstory (Undated) About. Available from: https://impactstory.org/about. (Accessed 28th March 2017).

The full post Unpaywall – find free (and legal!) open access papers appeared first on Cranfield University Blogs

How to access Unpaywall via the ALO service

  • Go to your alumni portal - https://alumni.cranfield.ac.uk/Security/Login.aspx
  • Log in with your account (see advice below if you have forgotten your login)
  • Click on the down-arrow next to ‘Alumni’ – this will display the full range of alumni services
  • Click on ‘Alumni Library Online’
  • The homepage for ALO will then be displayed
  • Click on ‘Useful websites’
  • Click on ‘General resources’
  • Click on ‘eJournals’
  • You will then see Unpaywall in the list of resources.

Our top tip for using ALO

Don’t be put off by the name of the database, thinking that it’s ‘only’ an engineering or a management database. Most of them have a surprisingly wide coverage so try searching for your chosen topic in all of them - you might be very pleasantly surprised by the results that you find!

Acceptable use of ALO

Please remember that all ALO resources are provided to alumni free of charge for personal development but are not to be used for commercial gain or shared with others.

Further help

If you have any queries about the above, or would like to send us feedback about any of our resources, please contact us:libraryalumni@cranfield.ac.uk

Forgotten your portal login?

The ALO service is part of the alumni portal. If you having a problem with your login account please contact the Alumni Office: alumni@cranfield.ac.uk