Say you used to be a student at a top-notch university where all the latest journal articles and books were nothing more than a few clicks away (or a short walk to the library).

And say you’ve graduated and you’ve surrendered your library access/cards, but you still love to get your hands on the latest research in your field WITHOUT paying an arm and leg for journal articles.

What are your options other than googling or using Google Scholar (which, incidentally, is a good place to start to obtain a list of the latest articles out there, FOC or not)?

Three quick options:

  1. Download free ebooks, nothing beats libgen and aaaaarg.fail
  2. Join a portal for academics/researchers e.g. Researchgate or Academia.edu; many papers can be downloaded or at least requestable. With ResearchGate, however you’re required to either submit an email from a university or prove that you’re doing some research. Note that Academia.edu is facing a backlash or sorts
  3. Use free databases e.g., NCBI, SMJ, UCL — or just google your topic and add the phrase ‘journal article’. So if you’re searching for scholarly articles on smartphone addiction you google ‘smartphone addiction journal article’, $10 says you’ll get at least one or two free pieces
  4. UCSI Library has a page listing quite a few open access databases.

Please add to the (clearly meagre) ideas above. The most frustrating part of open access searching is when you find an article which looks pretty damn awesome but no demon or angel allows you lay hands on its FULL-TEXT without paying.

This is the holy grail of open learning i.e. making every journal article or book that’s ever published downloadable by the public.

Edu-trainer, Žižek studies, amateur theologian, columnist.

Edu-trainer, Žižek studies, amateur theologian, columnist.