(22 March 2017) Get full-text of research papers as you browse, using Unpaywall’s index of ten million legal, open-access articles.
Scholars upload their papers to free, legal servers online but getting links to them can be onerous. By using a browser extension, Unpaywall searches the web for the papers you want, bringing open access direct to you.
In relative terms, Unpaywall users get articles free about half the time, based on current usage data. This is improving as the discovery techniques are improved. The real improvement will come over the longer term, as mandadory open access requirements begin to take effect in the US, UK, Europe, and elsewhere. Soon Unpaywall users will essentially have a free subscription to a lot of new research.
Compared to Unpaywall, the alternative Sci-Hub finds fulltext PDFs for paywalled articles. The main difference is where those PDFs come from: Unpaywall finds PDFs legally uploaded by the authors themselves, while Sci-Hub uses PDFs that are obtained by other means.
Further, the OA Button and Unpaywall are similar. But the OA Button is a more mature project (it’s been working since 2013), and has a different user interface as well as extra features including author emailing and finding open datasets. Unpaywall is more focused on seamlessly finding free content, whether an article is Green or Gold OA.
The company behind Unpaywall is Impactstory, a nonprofit working to make science more open and reusable online. It is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Impactstory is an open-source website that helps researchers explore and share the online impact. It began life as total-impact, a hackathon project at the Beyond Impact workshop in 2011. In early 2012, Impactstory was given £17,000 through the Beyond Impact project from the Open Society Foundation. Today Impactstory is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, first through a $125,000 grant in mid 2012 and then a two-year grant for $500,000 starting in 2013. Impactstory also received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how automatically-gathered impact metrics can improve the reuse of research software.
Visit Impactstory here.