May 24, 2007

Finding scientific papers for free

Sandra Porter of Discovering Biology in a Digital World has a series of three posts on Finding Scientific Papers for Free (1, 2, 3). All are very good and well worth checking out. They're basically from the point of view of someone that isn't attached to a major academic or institutional subscriber base but that wants to find high quality, peer-reviewed articles on various topics, mostly medicine and the other life sciences. However, the advice is certainly valid for anyone that is part of such an institution but still has to scramble to find some relevant articles.

Porter's new favourite method, from the third post: going to PubMed and choosing the "limit to free full text" in the limits section. Lots of interesting discussion and suggestions in the comments for the various posts.

An interesting discussion to keep track of, both for libraries and publishers. At what point does what's freely available on the web reach the critical mass tipping point? And what then?


Dave Bradley said...

I wrote a similar post last year about how to hack research journal websites and get research papers for free. I was not advocating anything illegal despite my use of the word "hack", just a few tips and tricks on where to find those free papers.


John Dupuis said...

Thanks, David. It's a good post that covers a lot of non-life science areas too.

Sandra Porter said...

Thanks for link John, I enjoy your blog!

I taught at a community college for several years and have been in a company for the past few. I know from experience that both groups have a big, unrecognized, problem with trying to access literature.

John Dupuis said...

You're welcome, Sandra. I enjoy your blog too.

I found the free stuff series really interesting because working at a big university, I can sometimes forget the problems of people who don't have good subscription access. Our problem is more getting students to recognize the value of all that stuff we do pay for...but who knows, maybe one day we won't have to pay for scholarly content in the same way we do now and everyone will have better access.