If you’re a scientist or a layperson who’s frustrated by the inability to access paywalled science articles (even if the research was funded by the public!), this is a browser extension you need. Called “Unpaywall“, it’s a free extension (go to previous link) Chrome and Firefox. You add it to your browser with just a mouse click, comme ça (click on screenshot):
Once you’ve installed the extension, and you get to a paper that’s paywalled, do this: if it has a green tab beside it, just click on the tab and the extension searches the web for author-loaded and other open-access versions of the pdf. This will be successful, the developers say, 60-85% of the time. (FAQ here). And it’s perfectly legal; in fact, it was developed with grants from the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Try it. If you click on the green button below and have the extension, you’ll go t0 a Nature article with a free pdf (just click the screenshot below):
Again, this is legal, and the site doesn’t collect information about you or your browsing habits. You can read more about it at the Unpaywall site, or at the article about the extension published at Open Culture.
I’ve added the extension, and recommend it. Published science should be free for all readers, especially because, at least in the U.S. and U.K., most published science is funded by taxpayers who support governmental granting agencies. It’s simply unfair to charge the taxpayer to access research they’ve already paid for!
If you’d like to see other free sources for reading journal articles, go to the list and links at MetaFilter.