Digital Researcher

Find scientific papers the easy way

Kitteh on the computer
Kitteh on the computer. Photo: William J Sisti / Flickr

Not all scientific papers are easily accessed. If you want to blog about an AoB PLANTS paper, they’re all Open Access and Annals of Botany papers are free access a year after publication, if you’re patient. If you’re not that patient you’re welcome to contact us and we can pass along the paper to you. But you have other options.

The Open Access Button wants to map access to papers, or rather lack of access. Every time you hit a paywall you can click this button to fill out a brief message about what someone has stopped you doing. Normally when people hit a paywall there’s no sound. If there’s more of a noise then scientists might see publishing in some venues means a large chunk of the potential audience doesn’t get to read the research.

That might vent a little frustration but, if you use the Chrome browser, there’s something else you can do.

The Lazy Scholar extension adds a button to the right of the omnibox. When you hit a paywall you can click the button and LazyScholar will use Google Scholar Search to see if it can find a full text version of the article for you. The search is over the whole web, so it stands a good chance of finding it if it’s in an institutional repository, a personal repository or a file that someone has craftily stored somewhere. As far as getting a paper goes, it can be a lot quicker than #icanhazpdf.

The only drawback I’ve found with Lazy Scholar is you forget other people don’t have it and you start getting messages asking “Where did you find…?”


Kitteh on the computer by William J Sisti / Flickr. This image licensed under a Creative Commons by-sa licence.