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.

Open Access Resources

Top Tips for Researchers

Below is information and guidance on the current tools and services available for researchers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It also includes current information on the availability of schemes like SCONUL.

Install Unpaywall Extension on Chrome

Harvests content from legal sources such as repositories run by universities, governments and scholarly societies as well as open content hosted by publishers.

You can install the Unpaywall Extension through the link below, and view the list of sources used under "Data sources harvested by Unpaywall". 


Access to Research Service

The Access to Research service gives free, walk-in access to a wide range of academic articles and research in public libraries across the UK.

**Access to Research is only available within participating UK public library premises. See list of participating libraries Please note that access is likely to be restricted due to current lockdown measures**

All content provided is digital and can be accessed from your designated library terminal, via the Summon search and delivery service.

Access to Research FAQs can be found at the link below giving details on how to to use the service, including effective searching tips.


Open Access Resources: Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg

Both Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg are searchable through UR Library Search, however you can also conduct separate searches on these platforms. This can be useful for Internet Archive where the platform can also offer borrowable content. and Research Gate

Sometimes articles may be available on the academic social networking sites and Research Gate. However, the versions shared are often the final published version, rather than the pre-print, and may therefore be in violation of publisher licencing agreements. This means they may be removed at the request of the publisher and access to articles on these sites is not likely to be stable. 


Doctoral theses available for immediate download are still accessible, but new digitisation orders in EThOS are currently suspended while the UK national lockdown is in place.

Google Books

Offers partial access to titles that are out of copyright, or where the publisher has given permission. You'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF copy.


Check repositories of author’s institutions

Unpaywall extension does bring up most repositories but it is always worth going directly to the institution's repository separately.

SCONUL and local public / university libraries to access outside of SCONUL 

The SCONUL scheme is currently suspended as a result of the current pandemic. More information can be found on the SCONUL Access website.

Please note that libraries are either closed or have restricted access and reduced hours due to the current lockdown. University libraries are prioritising access to their own staff and students and are not currently allowing access to visitors. Please check the respective library's website before planning any visit.

Remote access to films for teaching

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it may not be possible for staff and students to access the Library’s DVD collection. We already provide online access to many films via the Kanopy and Roehampton Online Broadcasts (ROB) streaming services (see below). ROB allows the recording of broadcast TV and radio programmes, including films, for educational use so it is worth keeping an eye on the TV schedules for forthcoming films to request.  We also have some film content available via subscription databases such as Dance in Video and Theatre Performance and Design Collection.

It may be permissible to show a commercial DVD to students via screenshare, provided you have the necessary equipment, and no-one records the session.  This works best in Microsoft Teams rather than Zoom.

If a film is not available via any of the above options, we may be able to investigate alternative provision by contacting the rights holder on your behalf. Please contact well in advance of the session for which the film will be needed.