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Open access resources and tools

If the item(s) you wish to view is not available via UH library subscriptions, you may be able to find an open access copy online.

An ‘open access' (OA) item is one that is freely available online for anyone to read and use and is often found in repositories such as the University Research Archive (UHRA), which are essentially big stores of OA academic research content.

There are thousands of these repositories and to individually search them all would be an impossible task.
The following tools allow you to search across thousands of repositories at once:


  • This is the most well-known repository aggregator service and its database is used by other systems such as Scopus and Web of Science.
  • Unpaywall is used primarily as a browser extension (Firefox or Chrome).  
  • This short video from UC San Diego Library demonstrates how to install and use the Unpaywall browser extension.


  • CORE’s mission is to aggregate all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide and make them available to the public, and like Unpaywall, a browser extension is available for Chrome or Firefox.  
  • CORE has a simple search box for finding an individual item or browsing for multiple items.
  • If the item you want is not available open access, then the CORE search results will identify similar outputs which may be able to meet your needs.

Lean Library

You might consider using a tool, such as Lean Library to direct you towards OA content. Lean Library is a browser extension that will point you towards UH library resources as you search the Internet. If what you're looking for is not available at UH, it will direct you towards any OA versions that are available. 

SciHub  - UH staff and students are forbidden to use SciHub.

  • Offers access to circa 80% of academic papers but does so illegally
  • It is the academic equivalent of pirate sites that offer illegal downloads of films and music.
  • As well as being illegal SciHub represents a potential security threat highlighted by a recent  City of London Police press release.


Please note: 

  • OA content will often be in 'preprint' or 'accepted manuscript' form, rather than the final version available via the publisher.
  • For guidance on these differences, including how to cite these versions correctly, please see Library SkillUP.


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