Answered By: Your Library Team
Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023     Views: 74

The following tools are all useful for finding journal articles. Some can be searched directly, while others are ‘extensions’ or ‘plug-ins’ that look for open access versions of articles you are searching for:


LibKey Nomad

The LibKey Nomad browser extension flags up open access journal articles, as well as articles we subscribe to, when you’re browsing the web. You can download it to your computer for free from the LibKey Nomad webpage.


Unpaywall is a simple browser plug in, that when you are on a page with a doi a padlock appears on the right hand side of your screen. If Unpaywall can find an openly available version of the paper the padlock turns green - if not, then it is greyed out. This is a very quick and unobtrusive way of finding open materials, and is a good first tool to recommend to users.

OA button 

OA button has an extension similar to Unpaywall. The main difference is that if it can’t find an OA version you can request they send an email to the authors of the paper asking them to make an open access version available. This is useful when accessing the paper isn’t time pressured, as authors may not immediately deposit an open access version of their paper or they may choose not to do so at all. The benefit of this tool is that it helps authors understand that people can’t access their papers and can lead to changes in academic behaviour as well as increasing the volume of open access materials available.

CORE discovery tool

CORE discovery is virtually the same as Unpaywall, but with one key difference - if it can’t find the paper open access it suggests alternative papers that may be useful to the researcher (similar to Amazon recommendations based on previous purchases). This is helpful if researchers are just reading around a topic, rather than trying to read a specific article, but the algorithm can throw up some very unusual suggestions for related papers and user feedback is mixed about whether this ‘suggestion’ function is useful or not.