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How do I find free research?

Sources for free electronic access to journals, books, & databases.

How to find open research

Research and scholarship are frequently hard to access due to publishing paywalls. However, many research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students, and members of the general public are supporting movements in open scholarship that allow new research and creative production to be free for all.

Three primary ways that scholarship can be freely available to you are:

  • Open Access
  • Public Domain
  • Creative Commons

This page defines these topics and provides pathways to free research.

Open Access

Open access (OA) refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g., access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions). Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, and monographs. (Wikipedia)

Learn more at

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Public Domain

Material that is not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws are in the public domain. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it. (Stanford University)

Learn how to find interesting public domain works online with the Public Domain Review.

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Creative Commons

Creative Commons are copyright licenses that provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use creative work. (

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