Open Access Week 2020 banner

About Open Access

Open Access Week 2020 is October 19-25.  Open Access is defined by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) as “the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.”

Expanding access to research findings is a worldwide collaborative effort of libraries, funding agencies, universities, scholarly societies, publishers, and governments.  Read more about how you can contribute to the Open Access movement and secure Open Access for your own publications on our Open Access Research Guide.

One of the key benefits of Open Access is that the ability to read and learn from research publications is no longer tied to the comparative wealth of one’s home university or institution. Authors who publish Open Access articles can generally expect a wider readership.  This year’s Open Access Week theme, “Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion,” highlights the Open Access promise of equitable access to scholarly information.

QuickSearch and Open Access

One of the frustrations of locating Open Access publications has been that there is no one comprehensive catalog to OA materials.  The DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) indexes journals that are entirely OA.  But many individual articles in subscription journals can be OA, or they can become OA 12 – 24 months after publication.

We can help with that.

We’ve written before about the Open Access icon in QuickSearch, the Libraries’ all-in-one search engine.  There is also a filter for your search in QuickSearch to limit results to Open Access.

Open Access icon and filter in QuickSearch

Open Access icon and filter in QuickSearch

Because QuickSearch is freely available to anyone to search, we welcome alums and members of the community to use QuickSearch as an efficient discovery tool for locating Open Access scholarly articles.

Unpaywall: Your Passport to Open Access

QuickSearch now incorporates direct links to Unpaywall.  Look for a link “PDF from Unpaywall” on your QuickSearch results.

PDF from Unpaywall link in QuickSearch

PDF from Unpaywall link in QuickSearch

What is Unpaywall?

Unpaywall in an open database of more than 27 million free scholarly articles from more than 50,000 publishers.  Unpaywall harvests data from services like DOAJ and CrossRef, from institutional repositories, and from monitoring individual journals for OA content.  Unpaywall gathers all the Open Access articles it can find into one database, so you don’t have to search multiple places in hopes of finding a free copy of an article of interest.

In addition to access Unpaywall links in library databases such as QuickSearch and Web of Science you can add an Unpaywall tool directly to your browser and take it with you as you conduct research on the web.  Two tools of note are

Open Access buttonOpen Access Button
A browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.





Unpaywall iconUnpaywall Browser Extension
A browser extension for Chrome.



Open All Year Long

Open Access isn’t about one week on the calendar.  Browse our research guides on Open Access, Open Scholarship, Open Government Data, and Open Educational Resources for more information and tips you can use all year long.