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Alumni Guide: Free Research Tools for Alumni

Open Access Journal Articles

Many journals are published that do not require a subscription or a log in to read. They are called Open Access journals because their contents are freely available on the web to be read by anyone with internet access and a computer.

To search high quality, peer-reviewed, open access journal publications, search through the Directory of Open Access Journals. This database can be used to search for journals and individual articles, similarly to a library database.

Still not finding what you need? Is there one specific journal or article that you remember using that you wish you could still access? Alumni are also able to find journal articles that are not published open access on the web:

Browser Extensions

  • Unpaywall - an open source browser extension that can help locate open access versions of closed-access published articles if they are available. Unpaywall has collected open access versions of over 24 million articles.
  • Open Access Button - an open source browser extension that will help locate a legal, full-text version of an article. If it cannot find the article you need, it will request a copy from the author on your behalf.

Institutional Repositories

Institutional repositories are usually managed by college and university libraries and contain scholarship produced by their campus community. These repositories are open access and serve to provide greater access to their communities published research. They contain published versions of articles, post-prints (peer-reviewed final drafts of articles) and preprints (first drafts of articles before peer-review).

  • The Cupola: Scholarship at Gettysburg College - search for Gettysburg College-authored scholarship from Gettysburg faculty, students, and staff
  • Digital Commons Network - As users of the bepress platform, The Cupola is included in the Digital Commons network where you can search for content in all 550+ institutional repositories that use the bepress system
  • OpenDOAR - the Directory of Open Access Repositories allows you to browse through and search for other institutional repositories

Preprint Repositories

Preprint repositories are another useful resource for locating open access versions of published articles. Preprint repositories serve to circulate scientific data and research more quickly than the publication process allows in order to share the most up-to-date scientific advancements with the research community, as well as receive feedback from a wider audience. This allows for scientific progress to continue developing while articles are vetted and published through the peer-review system.

Note that preprints are "first drafts" of articles -- these articles usually have not been peer-reviewed yet and will differ slightly from the final published article.

  • AfricArXiv - preprint server for African scientists covering all disciplines
  • AgriXiv - preprints for agriculture and allied scientists covering all disciplines
  • - open access to 1,583,147 e-prints in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science
  • bioRxiv - free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences
  • ChemRxiv - preprint server for chemistry
  • CORE - a full-text, interdisciplinary, non-profit social repository designed to increase the impact of work in the humanities
  • EarthArXiv - preprint server for the earth sciences covering several disciplines
  • EdArXiv - preprint server for the education research community
  • JMIR Preprints - server for pre-publication/pre-peer-review preprints intended for community review as well as ahead-of-print (accepted) manuscripts in the health sciences
  • LawArXiv - open access community for legal scholarship
  • LISSA - free, open scholarly platform for library and information science
  • medRxiv - a free online archive and distribution server for preprints in the medical, clinical, and related health sciences
  • PsyArXiv - free preprint service for the psychological sciences
  • SocArXiv - open archive of the social sciences
  • SSRN - SSRNĀ“s eLibrary provides 883,714 research papers from 420,862 researchers across 30 disciplines

For an even more complete list of preprint repositories, check out this list of disciplinary repositories.

Public Domain Resources

Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. A work of authorship is in the "public domain" if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain include the following:

  • Works published in the U.S. before 1926
  • Post-1926 publications that did not satisfy U.S. copyright requirements (typically notice requirements) of the time
  • Publications of the U.S. federal government
  • Works donated to the public domain by the copyright holder (usually by providing a statement saying anyone may copy the work)

The following resources all contain public domain materials that you can access, download, and share for free. However, not every work on these websites will be free of copyright restrictions. Always read the copyright information for each individual work to ensure that it is in the public domain.

  • Choral Public Domain Library - the ChoralWiki hosts free scores and vocal works, as well as translations and other information
  • Internet Archive - a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, including webpages, books, audio recordings, images, and more
  • PD Info - the Public Domain Information Project provides lists of public domain music titles, sheet music reprints and sheet music books as well as professional royalty free music libraries on CD and for download
  • Project Gutenberg - a library of over 60,000 free eBooks
  • Public Domain Movies - feature films in the public domain

For even more public domain resources, visit the Wikipedia list of Public Domain Resources.

Finding Books

The following tools can be helpful in finding resources that may be available in your local library or around the world.

  • WorldCat - The world's largest library catalog; web scale discovery and delivery.
  • Library of Congress - Homepage of the U.S. federal resource for the Library of Congress and the largest library in the world.

Free ebooks

  • Internet Archive - A digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Freely access text, video, music, images and more. Download free ebooks or visit the Wayback Machine to view snapshots of old webpages.
  • Project Gutenberg - a library of over 60,000 free eBooks

Health and Medical Resources

Find freely available health and medical related information that you can trust.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Health and safety topics, mobile device access, image library, and podcasts.
  • e-Anatomy - Learn about human anatomy; view radiography images and anatomical illustrations and references; study using interactive clinical cases and virtual workshops on medical imaging; select content is free.
  • MedlinePlus - Authoritative health information from the National Library of Medicine. Search or browse for detailed information about health topics, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and dietary supplements. Includes a medical dictionary.
  • PubMed Central - An open repository of research articles in medicine and life sciences. Also provided by the National Library of Medicine, this is a good option for finding original, academic research on medical and health topics.

Industry Specific Resources

For business professionals seeking industry information, these resources are freely available and do not require a login:

For information about even more industries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics website contains many more options including manufacturing, transportation and utilities, and information.