If you are not a current OSU student, staff or faculty member, here are some tips for accessing journal articles.
1. Search for articles using PubMed or Google Scholar
PubMed, which is freely available to everyone, indexes the health sciences literature. If an article is available for free in PubMed Central, you will find it with a PubMed search and there will be a link to the full text.
If there is not a direct link to a free copy of the article from PubMed, it may still be available for free elsewhere on the internet, and you can often find it using Google Scholar. Copying and pasting the article title from PubMed into Google Scholar will provide you a direct link if there’s a free version of the article online.
2. Use a browser plugin like Unpaywall
Unpaywall connects users directly to open, legal copies of articles, wherever they find them on the internet. This free tool is available for Chrome and Firefox.
3. Contact the corresponding author
If you don’t find a free copy online, the next step is to try emailing the corresponding author. Authors want you to use their papers, and will often share a copy of their manuscript by email if you ask. If you follow the link from a PubMed or Google Scholar record to the publisher’s page, you’ll often get a link to the author’s email. Authors often make themselves easy to track down with Google, too.
4. Borrow a print copy
If you practice in or near Ohio and are an Ohio resident, you’ll be eligible for a library card from the State Library of Ohio. You can request a free library card from their website. If there’s no free copy of your article available online, you can check the OhioLINK catalog to see if any OhioLINK libraries own a print copy of the journal issue you need. If so, you can request that it be sent to the OhioLINK library nearest to you. Your public library may also be able to borrow these materials for you.
You may also be able to access electronic resources for free if you visit a local OhioLINK library; call ahead or check their website for their policies. You’re always welcome to use the libraries here at Ohio State.
If you’re in another state, check with your local academic or public libraries on their policies. If you’re near a veterinary school, their library will likely have services that can help you out.
5. Get a copy from the publisher's website
You can often get a copy of an article from its publisher’s website.You will often find links to the publisher's website in the search results of a PubMed or Google Scholar search.
Sometimes the publishers make articles available for free, but they often charge to access each article. Many commercial publishers charge between $15 and $50 per article. If you’re a member of a professional society, you can often get free access to society publications or to journals the society subscribes to on its members' behalf.
Veterinarians living in Ohio are eligible for a library card from the State Library of Ohio. The State Library is a member of the OhioLINK consortium, which includes 88 college and university libraries from throughout Ohio.
State Library cardholders can find books held by OSU and other OhioLINK libraries using the OhioLINK catalog, and can pick them up and return them at any convenient OhioLINK library location. More information about borrowing books using your State Library card can be found here.
The following research databases are available to members of the public at no cost.