If Library Services does not hold a subscription to an online resource such as an e-journal article you may be able to find it in an open access institutional or subject repository.

Items in repositories are likely to be accepted manuscripts, not the final published version, and may be embargoed for some time. If an item is embargoed you may be able to use the ‘request a copy’ function to gain access.

How to find open access publications

Online tools

One-click article access – with LibKey Nomad browser extension
LibKey Nomad is a browser extension that delivers one-click access to the full text articles of library-subscribed journals, as well as open access journals or any open access versions of articles.

CORE harvests open access material from repositories or publishers’ websites. It hosts more than 13 million full text items and is claimed to be the world’s largest dataset of open access manuscripts. Unlike other open access discovery tools, it includes research items without Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) such as PhD theses and other ‘grey’ literature.

Unpaywall is a database of millions of free scholarly research outputs. You can add the free extension to your browser to enable you to find sources easily. The extension will show you if a legal open access version is available.

Open Access Button is similar to Unpaywall. You can add the free extension to your browser to enable you to search for the open access version of any articles you find which are behind a paywall. You may find some manuscripts which are embargoed. In this case, you can use the ‘request a copy from the author’ function.

EThOS allows you to search thousands of PhD theses awarded by UK universities. Most of them are available to download. You may need to use the ‘request a copy’ function. This service is provided by the British Library.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists fully open access journals. It also enables you to search fully open access journal articles.

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) lists open access books published by various publishers.

Open Access (OA) Helper is an iOS application that enables you to search scientific research outputs with your iPhone or iPad. The application has collaborated with CORE and uses its API

Institutional repositories

If you know the institutional affiliation of the author, it may be worth visiting that university’s institutional repository to check if the relevant output has been deposited. If the item is embargoed, don’t worry. You can use the ‘request a copy’ function. You can find more information about institutional repositories in the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and the Directory of Open Access Repositories (DOAR).

Personal websites

Many publishers allow authors to deposit scholarly outputs on their personal websites. It might be worth looking at an author’s personal website (if they have one) to search for the scholarly work. This method can be particularly useful when the author has no affiliation with a university. Bear in mind that authors might upload different versions (such as the submitted or pre-print version) from the final published version of the output you are looking for.


If you need the the fully formatted published version of an article and you can only find the accepted manuscript online, you can use our Document Delivery Service to request the published version.

You can also contact your librarian for help.