Fight Paywalls Legally: Unpaywall from Impact Story

Just received this email from Heather Piwowar of Impact Story on the Open Access email list (yes, I am a big supporter of open access, especially to research critical for the policy needs of a nation).

Our nonprofit Impactstory just released Unpaywall, an open-source Chrome/Firefox extension that links you to OA as you browse research articles. Hit a paywall? No problem: click the green tab, read it free.

Here’s why it’s game changing: it’s not just great for OA Nerds like all of us, it’s great for EVERYONE.  People just trying to get their work done, but stuck behind paywalls.  It’s easy, pretty, and brings the power of legal #OA straight to make lives better.

We’ve had thousands of installations in our first few days, and we’re we’re aiming for ten thousand by the end of the month. We want everyone in the world to have a “read it free” button next to the “pay us money” button on research articles, powered by open access in repositories worldwide.

We’d love your help spreading the word. Install it, tweet it, email it, tell your friends. And let us know what you think…we’re still improving Unpaywall daily.

Thanks, and let’s keep fighting for open access together!

Jason and Heather @impactstory

ps we couldn’t help it, it’s still great for OA Nerds like us: we put an an Expert Setting in there that shows you which papers are gold or green OA 🙂

guerilla open access paperblog

Whilst we all struggle through the onerous task of finding full texts to critical publications hidden behind layers of paywalls, many of us have found respite in the somewhat illegal, yet absolutely fantastic services provided by Alexandra Elbakyan’s website Sci-Hub, which is forced to keep changing domains as one registrar after another responds to legal threats and shuts them down. If this is indeed a legal workaround, then it is indeed a welcome step. I have sparingly used it on a couple of occasions and it has seemed to be able to locate some papers that were paywalled, but unfortunately, so did Google Scholar. Now, the real test will come when I use it more intensively over the next couple of weeks – will it unearth full texts that have not been linked to by Google Scholar or are otherwise not easy to locate on the interwebs? That remains to be seen. I shall come back with another post in a few weeks’ time, hopefully, with a more detailed account of my experiences. As with any new app I expect this to have some bumps and improve over future iterations. Till then, let us see how things go!

Image credits: Featured Image of Aaron Swartz via the States of Freedom blog; Image in blog post, well, Randall Munroe asked us to Steal This Comic, and I did!

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