Discover “Unpaywall,” a New (and Legal) Browser Extension That Lets You Read Millions of Science Articles Normally Locked Up Behind Paywalls

Ear­li­er this month, Impact­sto­ry, a non­prof­it sup­port­ed by grants from the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and the Alfred P. Sloan Foun­da­tion, launched, Unpay­wall, a free brows­er exten­sion that helps you “find open-access ver­sions of pay­walled research papers, instant­ly.”

As the co-founders of Impact­sto­ry describe itUnpay­wall is “an exten­sion for Chrome and Fire­fox that links you to free full-text as you browse research arti­cles. Hit a pay­wall? No prob­lem: click the green tab and read it free!”

Their FAQ gets into the mechan­ics a lit­tle more, but here’s the gist of how it works: “When you view a pay­walled research arti­cle, Unpay­wall auto­mat­i­cal­ly looks for a copy in our index of over 10 mil­lion free, legal full­text PDFs. If we find one, click the green tab to read the arti­cle.”

While many sci­ence pub­lish­ers put a pay­wall in front of sci­en­tif­ic arti­cles, it’s often the case that these arti­cles have been pub­lished else­where in an open for­mat. “More and more fun­ders and uni­ver­si­ties are requir­ing authors to upload copies of their papers to [open] repos­i­to­ries. This has cre­at­ed a deep resource of legal open access papers…” And that’s what Unpay­wall draws on.

This seems like quite a boon for researchers, jour­nal­ists, stu­dents and pol­i­cy­mak­ers. You can down­load the Unpay­wall exten­sion for Chrome and Fire­fox, or learn more about the new ser­vice at the Unpay­wall web­site.

Note: Over at Metafil­ter, you can find a good list of sources of, or meth­ods for, obtain­ing free aca­d­e­m­ic con­tent.

via Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics/Metafil­ter

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