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Ask Ediqo: How can I find and access free versions of scientific papers?

Here are five strategies for obtaining a free copy of a paper.

  1. Try to look for a free version in Google Scholar. Many papers are available for free from a preprint server, an institutional repository or the author’s website. For example:
    Google Scholar, download free pdf version
  2. Check if the full-text can be requested from the authors on ResearchGate
  3. Send a short email to the corresponding author asking for the PDF of the paper
  4. Try to use the #icanhazpdf hashtag on Twitter (mention the DOI number in the tweet, and delete the tweet once you have received the PDF copy). Note that some consider this practice as piracy.
  5. Try to locate the paper on SciHub or LibGen using the DOI, PMID or by searching for the article’s title. Note that accessing these services might be illegal or considered as piracy.

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