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Open Access browser extensions: OA plugins

Finding Open Access Articles

A third to a half of articles have a free Open Access version, but finding them isn't always easy.

Save time with these easy-to-install Open Access tools that instantly search aggregated repositories, Open Access journals, preprint servers, etc. 

OA Helper for iOS

CORE Discovery

CORE Discovery finds Open Access copies of articles, using the CORE dataset of millions of full text OA papers, as well as the data of other providers.

CORE Discovery says it has "the best grip on open content from open repositories as opposed to other services that disproportionately focus only on content indexed in major commercial databases." and that it is the only discovery system that can locate scientific content even for items with an unknown DOI or which do not have a DOI.

Another useful feature of CORE  is that if the paper you're looking for isn't available Open Access then CORE will suggest other papers on the same topic that are Open Access.  More details at:


Open Access Button

Open Access Button searches thousands of sources containing millions of articles to connect you to an article instantly if it is freely available.

They say their sources include all of the aggregated repositories in the world, hybrid articles, open access journals, and those on authors personal pages.

The OA Button also provides a service for requesting an article from the author if you don't have access via subscription and the article isn't yet OA.


We previously wrote a blog post about Unpaywall:

Unpaywall searches the Unpaywall database which works by harvesting from Open Access sources to find OA content and then matching that content to the Crossref DOI, so for any DOI searched via the plugin, Unpaywall "knows about any OA versions that exist anywhere".   

The Unpaywall extension is already integrated into a number of discovery tools and platforms, including Scopus, Web of Science and Dimensions.


Kopernio provides a link to the "best available full-text PDF" of an article and works in the same way as other OA browser extensions; by searching for an OA version on open databases on the Internet. But it's less common feature is that you can set up Kopernio so that it will also provide a link to enable you to first check whether Stirling's Library provides subscription access.

A guide to getting the most out of Kopernio and setting up your connection to check your possible subscription access to the PDF, before Kopernio delivers an OA version, is available at:

We've found that Kopernio is best used when you're not on a University computer on campus - because on campus subscription access to articles will be automatic and the other plugins on this page will find OA content.

Google Scholar Button

We previously wrote a blog post about Google Scholar Button:

Google Scholar button enables you to check if you have access (subscription or Open Access) to an article. When viewing a web page of an article (or select the text of any publication reference), click on the Google Scholar button and it automatically runs a search in Google Scholar and returns the top results in a little popup window on the web page you are on.

The results include links to the full-text.  Setup 'University of Stirling' in your Google Scholar settings – this means the links will include Stirling’s journal subscriptions:

Go to Google Scholar, choose the menu icon in the top left hand corner, select Settings, select Library Links, search for: Stirling, select the ‘Stirling University Library’ option, click Save

Other nice features:

  • Click on the cite icon (looks like a quotation mark), you can then choose to export the reference to bibliographic management software such as Endnote and RefWorks
  • Run a search in Google, then click the button – and it runs the same search in Google Scholar and brings the results back


For Open Access enquiries contact:


If you know of other useful Open Access tools -

let us know: