International Open Access Week

International Open Access Week

International Open Access Week is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

If you have any queries regarding open access or open research, please see our Open Access webpages.

Here are some of our favourite tools to get you started.....

Finding Open Access research

If you are struggling to access research papers because they are behind a paywall, Open Access Button and Unpaywall are easy to use, free tools that can help you find legal research papers free of charge. They are quick to install - simply download from their websites.


Unpaywall installs a plug-in on your browser that searches for free versions of the article you want. A green Unpaywall icon appears on the right of your browser when an open access version of an article is available.
Click on the icon to access the article.

Open Access Button

Open Access Button works in a similar way to Unpaywall, in that it searches for a free, legal version of a research paper, but also contacts the author to ask if they can supply the paper, if it isn’t available free of charge. You can either search for an open access paper from the website homepage and you will receive a link to available OA versions, or download the extension to display the Open Access button on your browser toolbar. If you find an article that you can’t access, click on the icon to find available open access versions.

You can also use the following websites to search for open access articles:

  • CORE - A database that aims to aggregate all open access papers in repositories and journals. Search for papers on their webpage.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - Search the DOAJ site for open access journals and articles.
  • StarPlus - If you haven’t looked for a paper using the the Library’s search tool, StarPlus, then this is the best place to start your research. StarPlus provides access to all journals and other content that the Library subscribes to. It also searches the University of Sheffield’s open access repository, White Rose Research Online (WRRO) and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Open Access monographs

Finding OA monographs

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) has over 9000 books and chapters that have been made open access by publishers, and these can be directly downloaded from the website. You can browse by subject, or search by title, ISBN, keyword and more. All these titles can also be found via StarPlus.

Publishing OA monographs

Knowledge Unlatched (KU) is an initiative where libraries pledge money to make a selection of books open access that had previously only been available to purchase. The books made open access are within the fields of humanities and social science, and next year KU are looking to include STEM titles too. If you have recently had a book published and would like it to be considered to be made open access through this scheme then let your publisher know.

White Rose University Press is the new open access press run by the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. They are actively welcoming proposals for monographs.
Contact WRUP.

UCL Press publish open access books, and have a fee-waiver scheme for a small number of non-UCL authors.