Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
There are online search engines that will help you identify research in your field. You probably have heard of (and used) Google Scholar. Some of the results will be open so that you will be able to read the full-text of the articles. Some will be behind a paywall. There are many tools and browser extensions that will help identify free or open copies of research articles. UnPaywall, linked below, is just one of them.
provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.
Many students make the common mistake of confusing this for a subscription library database. PubMed is not a library database. It is a free online database run by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health. While an excellent source, be aware that many of the articles that you'll find here will only be available in abstract-only format.
ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
Full-text articles on educational literature and resources with links to more than 100,000 full-text documents from ERIC.
Tool for finding Full-Text
An open database of 22,667,459 free scholarly articles. Also provides a Browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that will try to find a full-text version of an article that is behind a paywall.
Local Public libraries
Your local library will likely provide access to a few research databases that you can use as long as you have a library card. Although not as extensive as an academic library, your town library is worth a shot when trying to do research in your field.
Some public university libraries offer visitors access to their databases on public or guest computers. Reach out to the library before planning a visit to confirm guest access.
SHU alumni and guest access
You are welcome to come back to the SHU library to do some research! Much like some public universities, the SHU library has designated guest computers that provide you access to our databases.
Depending on your profession, your place of employment might provide access to databases where you can do some research. This is true for hospitals and law offices, but extends beyond those examples.
Open Access Materials
There are several places that collect free and/or open access materials, including articles, book chapters, and even entire books. Some have search features while others require some browsing before getting to specific materials.
Open archive of the social sciences, provides a free, non-profit, open access platform for social scientists to upload working papers, preprints, and published papers, with the option to link data and code. Working papers are any draft of a paper that is ready to share, but has not been peer-reviewed yet. Preprints are completed papers that have been peer-reviewed but are not yet published by a journal. Post-prints are versions of papers behind a paywall and the authors want anyone to be able to read it.
OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Resources)
OpenDOAR is a global directory of Open Access repositories and their policies.
The DOAJ and BioMed Journals linked below are only a couple of places where you can find open access journals. As you become more familiar with your field, and start digging into the OA scholarship, you will likely start to identify specific journal titles that you can continuously go back to stay current.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
BioMed Central Journals
Expanding beyond biomedicine into the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering disciplines, BMC now offers a wider portfolio of subject fields on a single open access platform.
Although books take longer to publish than journal articles, they might provide useful information as you do research in your field.
The NCBI Bookshelf provides free online access to books and documents in life science and healthcare. Search, read, and discover.
The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences. OAPEN works with publishers to build a quality controlled collection of open access books, and provides services for publishers, libraries and research funders in the areas of deposit, quality assurance, dissemination, and digital preservation.
Directory of Open Access Books
The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. The directory is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.