How to find Open Access articles

There are various tools to help you find open access versions of articles that are otherwise only available with a subscription to the journal (or by paying an access fee). These include:

  • OA DOI ( If you know the DOI (digital object identifier) of the article you’re looking for, you can paste it onto the end of this web address to find open access versions of the article.
  • Unpaywall ( This is a browser extension for Firefox and Google Chrome. Once you’ve installed it, any time you find an article behind a paywall, you can click on the padlock icon on the right hand side of the screen and be taken straight to an open access version of the article, if there’s one available.
  • Open Access Button ( a similar tool to Unpaywall, this also allows you to search for an article directly from their website and request copies of articles from authors.
  • Canary Haz ( a new tool, currently being tested, which as well as finding open access versions of articles can also help access content the library has subscribed to whilst off campus, and link from the pre-print to the final published version of an article. Sign up required for free service, company will be making a premium version available.

For more information on Open Access have a look at the Library Open Access FAQs


This week is International Open Access Week

On 8th September 2016 the BBC reported that a British student, Will Broadway, has invented a mobile fridge designed to transport vaccines that will affect the lives of millions of people around the world. Another noteworthy aspect to this story is that the student will not be seeking to patent the invention:

“I wanted to make something for people who have next to nothing. It should be a basic human right, in my opinion, to have a vaccination. “I don’t think that it should be patented to restrict use.”

With this week being International Open Access week, this story is a great demonstration of how choosing to put ‘open’ into action can bring benefits to the medical and healthcare world.

Open Access week is an international event that seeks to highlight the benefits of Open Access, as well as celebrating the achievements in making research openly available. The Open Access movement has been around for some time, and building upon the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002, funders like the Wellcome Trust & Medical Research Council introduced Open Access policies in 2006. Over the course of the past 10 years the move to making research freely and openly available has gathered momentum. Many research funders now require any research that they support to be made available as Open Access and actively support the dissemination of research findings to encourage further discoveries. The Wellcome Trust is even going so far as to launch its own platform to allow researchers to easily and quickly publish their findings – on the Wellcome Open Research site.

Here at St George’s we too are playing our part, the Institutional Repository, SORA, has been steadily growing and currently has over 1500 research papers deposited within it that are either immediately open access, or will be openly available after a short embargo period. This includes important papers such as the recent paper by Professor Dalgleish et al, which was highlighted by St George’s recently, which has highlighted significant advances in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, and is an article that is fully open access.

More about SGUL research in SORA:

  • 1,500 full text & rising (immediately open or open after short embargo)
  • All work is peer reviewed
  • Full text in indexed in Google & Hunter
  • Average downloads per month so far in 2016: 1370


What you can do

  • So, for Open Access week, why not have a look at SORA and discover the benefits of Open Research?
  • Look out for Open Access Week tweets from @sgullibrary
  • Join the movement to put open into action

For more information on open access please visit the Library open access webpages, or contact

Chrissie Phillips
Jennifer Smith
Research Publications and Open Access

SORA has passed 1000 full text publications freely available online!

The logo for SORAWe’re pleased that SGUL’s open access institutional repository, SORA (St George’s Online Research Archive) has now made over one thousand full text publications written by researchers at SGUL freely available online.

Many of the big funders in biomedical and life sciences research require publications reporting the results of research they’ve funded to be available on open access, because open access will

  • Allow research to have maximum impact around the world, by letting researchers read and build on work already done ( You Tube How Open Access Empowered a 16-Year-Old to Make Cancer Breakthrough)
  • Increase citation advantage (PLOS One article on citation advantage)
  • Increase visibility and discoverability of your research (SHERPA FAQs explain how Google & Google Scholar search favours OAI-repository material and normally ranks it higher than an individuals’ websites)
  • Engage more members of the public with your research (podcast with Peter Suber)

For more information on open access please visit the Library open access webpages, or contact

Nora Mulvaney
Jennifer Smith
Research Publications and Open Access

BIS Committee publishes Government Response and RCUK Response to Open Access Report

oa_logoThe Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has published the Government Response and the RCUK Response to the Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2013–14, Open Access. Some points of interest in the Third Special Report are:


  • The Government’s OA policy is based on the principle that the taxpayer should have free access to the published findings of research that has been publicly funded
  • Publication of research results is seen as an integral part of the research process
  • There is discussion of Gold and Green options as routes towards open access, and an intention to look at methods to address ‘double dipping’
  • There is a new initiative for developing a European infrastructure for bioscience research data
  • HEFCE is finalising its proposals for the post 2014 REF, to possibley include a mandate of immediate deposit in an appropriate institutional repository; see the recent HEFCE consultation on open access
  • A cost benefit analysis of the Government’s OA policy is to be undertaken

For links to the reports please click here

For more information on open access at SGUL, please see the Library Open Access FAQs

Wellcome Library: New Open Access Fund

International Open Access Week
The Wellcome Trust has a strong policy mandating open access  on publications arising from research they have funded. The Wellcome Library has now made funds available to pay the open access publishing costs for research papers, monographs and book chapters that result from research based on the Wellcome Library’s collections.

This new fund is open to those using the Wellcome Library who are not themselves Wellcome Trust Grant Holders. They are making this fund available as they recognise the importance of open access in enabling research to be more widely read, more easily disseminated and more frequently cited.

The Wellcome Library has collections covering the history of medicine, including archival and manuscript material, and much more.

For more information please see


Open Access Week 21 – 27 October 2013

International Open Access Week

This week is International Open Access Week. It is the sixth year of this international event, which is held in order to promote awareness of open access and encourage wider participation by academics and researchers.

In the video below, The Euroscientist interviews Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College, London, UK, and asks five questions about open access:

  1. What triggered the open access movement?
  2. How significant has the open access movement become since its inception?
  3. What do the main opponents of open access say about it?
  4. Where are the funds expected to come from to pay for open access publications?
  5. Do you anticipate that the open access phenomenon is a transition towards a more evolved form of publishing?


In his responses, Professor Curry discusses the benefits of open access, the role of publishers and scholarly publishing, funding for open access, and the rise (and usefulness) of journal Impact Factors.