The Open Access Button



The Open Access Button

When you hit a message such as this one while doing research, it means you’ve hit what is called a “paywall”.

If your library hasn’t subscribed to the journal, you will be asked to pay a hefty charge for accessing the article.


However, often an open access verion of the article in question exists, it’s just a matter of knowing how and where to find it. One of such ways is the Open Access Button.

There are two way of using the Open Access Button:

  1. Bookmark and paste the URL of your article into the box.
  2. Use the extension (bookmarklet) which you can also add to your bookmarks toolbar. Click on it when viewing the article you want to access and you’ll get an Open Access Button pop-up.

If the Open Access Button is able to locate an open access version of the article, you’ll see a blue PDF icon.

If not, this type of screen will appear, allowing you to request the article with its author.

You’ll be asked to briefly state the reason why you need access to the article and hopefully the author will respond to the request by depositing their article in an institutional repository. When they do you’ll be informed per email that the requested article is available.

Adapted from Lizzie Sparrow at the A.G. Leventis Library & Information Service.

New for Open Access Week 2017

The Open Data Button has now been combined with the Open Access Button. Now you can find and request both articles and data in one service instead of making separate searches and requests.

In case you don’t want to install the plugin, you can now use the Button in your browser. You simply submit a URL on the Browser Button page – the Button will search for an available copy of the article or data. If it is unable to get you immediate access, you can submit a request.

Install the new Chrome plugin or bookmarklet to any browser or try out the Browser Button. You can let them know what you think on Twitter or send them an email at