Where to get research papers for free
After the post about ebooks, I have thought you may be interested on academic papers too and here I am! :) THANKS for your contributions to this post!
On the subject education, there is also a new post about the free university courses you can attend online, for free!!!
Anyway, if you are a PhD student or a researcher you need to download and study other people's scientific works. For most journals (the most important ones) your institution should have already a subscription.
However you'll probably have already experienced that sometimes, you need a paper you cannot download through your institution, pretty annoying eh?
So... how can you solve this problem?
Where can you download research papers for free?
Where to find free scientific journal articles?
How to get that f*ck*ng full-text pdf?
Are there alternatives to sci-hub?
Yes, just read below!
By the way, is sci-hub down? NO, once again, just read below!
I will list you several options to address this problem. At least one of them will be suitable for you. I'm 99.9999% sure! ;)
1) Ask to the librarian of your university. He/She knows for sure whom ask the paper you are looking for.
2) Look for the draft version of the published paper.
A good starting point is the Cornell University Library http://arxiv.org/ where many researchers put their papers before they are accepted on some journal.
Very often the authors update the file on arxiv.org even after the acceptance.
3) Search NOT on google.com but on https://scholar.google.com instead.
Insert the reference of your paper (Author(s), journal, volume, page), perform the search and when you find it, click "show all versions".
In this way you can check if the pdf of the paper you are intersted in is available somewhere over the web.
4) Check if your Journal is listed here http://highwire.stanford.edu/lists/freeart.dtl
5) Ask the authors and/or visit their homepages. Or simply ask the "Boss", usually the last author.
Clearly it doesn't work if the paper is too old...
6) http://sci-hub.org and its mirrors
- and .. .it you use the tor browser http://scihub22266oqcxt.onion/
This is the most powerful option, the only one that NEVER fails but it is also completely illegal.
I mean, it simply doesn't look like something legal, but I could be wrong... anyway you are warned!
NOTE: Sometimes its servers are down.
This should be temporary and anyway you can still refer to http://libgen.org/scimag/
*** UPDATE #3 on sci-hub from another reader below ***
Apparently, Russian proxies are no-longer required to use sci-hub.org
or sci-hub.io or sci-hub.cc
*** UPDATE #2 on sci-hub from another reader below ***
It works with the Russian proxies, but sometimes you'll have to keep trying, which means refreshing your browser or trying again a few minutes later until it works.
*** UPDATE #1 on sci-hub from a reader below ***
Sci-hub is not down, actually. It's just restricted to users inside Russia, which means that you'll be able to access it if you use a Russian proxy. A list of russian proxys: http://www.proxynova.com/proxy-server-list/country-ru/
alternatively you can setup a vpn (for example with Astrill) with access to russian proxies.
7) http://jxplore.com/ this seems to be the best sci-hub.org alternative.
Similar to sci-hub but it works only with "popular" scientific papers. And it's illegal.. probably.
Similar to sci-hub, it could take some time to load.
10) Already known from the ebook post on this blog:
Free, free subscription, daily limit
At the column at the left of the above page there are listed sites with open access journals
12) Directory of Open Access Journals
13) PLOS one
14) Alphabetical List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies
15) I almost forgot! Ask a friend who works at a University, better if he/she is Finnish! This is not a joke! Finnish people working at Universities have access to many on-line journals!
16) As pointed by a reader below... Facebook can also be a valuable resource!
To use it you have simply to copy the link of the paper, just the link you find on the official page of the journal. YES, the one that, if clicked, prompt you immediately on the page where you are asked for the login and/or the money!
In short, http://sci-hub.org is for scientific papers what library.nu was for books and for this, it will likely experience the same end.
If you CANNOT access sci-hub in your country, just try to install the Firefox and Chrome add-on proxmate.
Probably, if your institution doesn't have the subscription for the journal you want, probably that journal (and consequently the paper you are interested in), is not that important in your research field.
Another possibility could be that your library has not so much money and in this case other solutions are (partially) justified...