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: Alternative Access Options

Alternative Access Options

The UM Libraries will in most cases have access to the article you are looking for. What options are available if the Libraries don't? A wide range, from browser extensions to interlibrary loan. Below you will find a sampling of some of those tools and services. 

If you are looking for a little human assistance there are a number of ways to get a hold of us including contacting your subject librarian directly. 

If you have any questions about open access tools or services you can contact Adam Clemons. Are you a UM faculty member, researcher, student, or staff and have a favorite tool, service, search engine, or database you use to find open access and free articles? Let Adam know and we can add it here. 


Searching for Open Access and Free Versions

There are a number of great databases that can help connect you to open access and free versions of articles.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a wildly popular search platform. It offers a few options you might not know about

Google Scholar Button is an extension that can help you connect to Google Scholar results and possible free versions of articles from simple web searches.

Don't forget when using Google Scholar to add the University of Mississippi to your Library Links. This provides article links to journals the Libraries subscribe to. 

Semantic Scholar

Semantic Scholar is an search platform focused on biomedicine, computer science, and related fields. It provides links to free versions when available and includes a search filter for articles including a PDF. It provides an interesting alternative to Google Scholar utilizing artificial intelligence technology.

PubMed Central

PubMed Central is a free full-text archive containing over 5 million articles across the biomedical and life sciences. PubMed Central articles are also available using PubMed. 


Interlibrary Loan

If you've exhausted your searching or need the article of record for a preprint you've found, the Libraries offer a free and quick service, interlibrary loan. Interlibrary loan allows you to request articles, books, dissertations, DVDs, and a range of other information sources. Within a few hours, or days depending on how tricky the request is, you'll get an e-mail that your article is ready to download or book to pick up. The best part is that there is no charge to you.


Browser Extensions

Browser extensions allow you to find free versions of articles with one click. There are several popular options.


Open Access Button


Asking the Author(s)

Researchers like to share their work. If you are having trouble finding a free or open access version of an article trying contacting the corresponding author directly. Their e-mails are available on article pages even for articles that the Libraries do not have access to. 

Many researchers also have scholarly social networking accounts with services like ResearchGate or In addition researchers and labs also have more traditional social media accounts like Twitter. A quick web search can bring any of these up. 

These are all great resources for reaching out and contacting authors directly. 


To save yourself a trip to the library's website, we suggest trying the UMissMe bookmarklet. The bookmarklet will rewrite the link of the page you are on so that you can log in via the library's proxy server to show that you are a member of the UM community.

How do you that? We have a dedicated page that shows you how to get started including using UMissMe on your iPhone or iPad.