Skip to main content

Help LibGuides

Open Access: OA discovery

OA discovery

As open access becomes an accepted and ubiquitous element of the publishing landscape, it offers increased opportunities for researchers and the public to access research. It can be difficult to understand where an open access publication has come from and whether it is legitimate or pirated. Below are some resources that can be used to discover open access material and which present only legitimate resources. The resources can easily be integrated into your research environment.

Assessing legitimacy of open access content

When using open access resources, it is important to evaluate the source of the content.

Some resources provide access to articles but do not comply with copyright and access permissions laid out by the rightsholder of the work. It is important to understand whether you are accessing a resource legally and which version you are accessing.

Further information on copyright is available at

The browser extensions listed on this page use legitimate resources.


The directories below are curated lists of open access publications. To be included in the directories, publications must meet criteria regarding their legitimacy. The publications are regularly assessed, so must continue to meet the criteria to remain in the directories.

Unpaywall - the OA browser extension

Unpaywall is a browser extension that can be added to Chrome or Firefox to check whether an open access version of an article is available. To download the extension, go to

Once you have the extension, simply browse for the journal article you wish to view on the internet. You will need to find the article as published on the journal website. If an open access version of the article is available, you will see a green tab with an open padlock at the right hand side of the screen. Click on the tab to open the open access article in your browser.

The open access articles identified in Unpaywall are ethically sourced from legal deposits. Unpaywall uses open data to power its database, and you can see where that data comes from at

Other OA browser extensions

There are multiple OA plugins for discovering open access versions of articles available. Some other options are: