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Unpaywall: Your Link to Open Access Research

By Tina Beis

In celebration of Open Access Week — Oct. 19-26 — we're highlighting Unpaywall, a new feature within library database search results, specifically within UDiscover and other EBSCOhost databases. It is a way to connect users directly to open-access resources from the search results page. Records for open-access articles that are part of the Unpaywall database will have an orange open-access icon with the text "Full Text Open Access." Our hope is that it will help users connect to open-access articles more easily. 

To see Unpaywall in action, see the article “Culturally inclusive and contextually appropriate instructional practices: Rethinking pedagogical perspectives, practices, policies, and experiences in early childhood education programs” from the Journal of Research in Childhood Education. Previously, this article only offered interlibrary loan as an access option through the “Find It!” link in UDiscover. With the integration of Unpaywall, users can now click on a direct full-text link to view the article. 

What is UnPaywall?

Unpaywall maintains a database of links to full-text articles from open-access sources all over the world. It harvests content from legal sources including repositories run by universities, governments and scholarly societies, as well as open content hosted by publishers.

Unpaywall focuses on providing greater access to several types of open content:

  • Author-archived open access content (“green OA”): Unpaywall captures OA versions of articles — generally manuscript versions — that authors have posted in repositories (while the published versions appear in paid-access journals).
  • Hybrid OA content: Unpaywall captures individual open-access articles available directly from publishers, in journals otherwise available only by paid subscription.
  • Full OA journal content: Unpaywall captures articles published in full OA journals and indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals and other sources.

Questions about open-access resources? Contact University Libraries on our Get Help website.

What is Open Access Week?

2020 marks 10 years of Open Access Week, “a global event for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.”

Open-access scholarly research can be read for free and immediately, and individuals have the right to use and reuse results as needed.

“Open Access has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted,” says SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, which plans and promotes International Open Access Week. “It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.” Read the Open Access Week website for more information. 

Tina Beis is the discovery services librarian and an assistant professor in the University Libraries.

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