The library provides access to thousands of scholarly journals, but there will be times when you will need access to a journal not available through the library’s subscriptions. Below are several ways to legally get access to scholarly journal content beyond our subscriptions:

Find an Open Access Version 

Increasingly scholarly articles are becoming available on an open access basis, often through institutional repositories like the Research Repository or through discipline-based repositories such as arXiv (Physical, Mathematical and Computer Sciences) or SocArXiv (Social Sciences) . The article version on these repositories will usually be the final draft post-refereeing (also known as the post-print), so the only difference to the published version is the absence of the publisher's type-setting, formatting, logos and pagination. There is more information about open access on the Library’s LibGuide

Several tools, services and browser plug-ins have been developed to help you find open access versions of journal articles:

Finding articles using plugins

There are a number of browser extensions or plug-ins for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari which can be installed to facilitate finding articles which are open access:

Unpaywall – a browser plugin for Chrome or Firefox, which will display a green icon when you encounter a pay-wall for a journal article if an open access version of the article is available and will link you directly to it.

Open Access Button – a plugin for Chrome or Firefox that works similarly to Unpaywall – click on the button while you are viewing a pay-walled journal article and it will search for open access versions.  If it doesn’t find one, it will give you the option to have them ask the author to make the article available open access.  You can also search directly for a known article by DOI or Citation.

Google Scholar Button is a browser extension available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. The extension makes finding full-text open access articles in Google Scholar easier and allows access to closed articles which the library subscribes to.  You must firstly configure Google Scholar so that it will recognise you as a UL registered user so that you can access articles that the library has a subscription to.

The Lazy Scholar extension finds open access articles and provides metrics and citations. Additionally, it can include articles behind paywalls via a user’s own institution’s subscriptions.

Kopernio is an extension finding both open access versions of articles and articles which users have access to via institutional subscriptions. The service is free but belongs to Clarivate Analytics and you need to register in order to use the extension.

Find research articles using search engines, academic repositories or archives

Google Scholar – Google scholar harvests the content of institutional repositories and links them in the one record. In the google scholar search list click "All versions" under the search result and check out the alternative sources. If an author has deposited the accepted manuscript into an Institutional Repository it will be linked here.

Dimensions – Dimensions is a next-generation linked research information system that makes it easier to find and access the most relevant information. Developed in collaboration with over 100 leading research organizations around the world, it brings together over 128 million publications. Users of the free version can use the Open Access filter to find articles. We recommend that you select ‘All OA’ as your filter.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a list of open access journals and a search service finding peer-reviewed and scholarly journals and articles.

CORE is a search engine and index for aggregated research publications from repositories and journals globally. Developed by JISC and the Open University it offers access to around over a hundred million articles.

OSF Preprints is a platform with openly accessible preprints, or submitted manuscripts which are publically distributed before acceptance and peer-review in a traditional scientific journal. An advantage of publishing preprints is the speeding up of scientific communication and of sharing research results earlier, as it can take a long time between submission of an article till publication. OSF Preprints is developed by Centre for Open Science (COS), a non-profit organisation with the goal of greater openness and reproducible research.

Request an Inter-Library Loan (ILL)

The Library’s Inter-Library Loan service can get a copy of material you need that the Library doesn’t own or subscribe to through our cooperative agreements with other libraries. 

Contact the author

Authors are permitted to share post-print copies of their published articles and are often happy to do so.  ResearchGate and are both platforms that facilitate making contact with researchers and requesting copies of their articles. As mentioned above also makes requesting an article from an author very easy.

Need more help

Contact the library if you need more assistance on finding articles, or alternatively contact Ashling Hayes (Head of Research Services in the Library).