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Finding Online Scholarly Research During a Pandemic

Remote Teaching, Learning and Research Hub


With many libraries closed for print-based resources, and UWinnipeg Library running limited services in the Fall, access to many academic resources in print is limited. Many of the initial temporarily “free” online packages from publishers have since ended.

Finding Unpaywalled Academic Resources

In addition to the numerous full-text articles, books, and databases available through subscriptions via the University of Winnipeg Library, there are a number of tools you can use to find research “beyond the paywalls” including: peer reviewed, Open Access scholarly research, pre-prints, institutional repository content, patent information, and more.

  • [Database and browser extension] Unpaywall: A database and browser extension for searching Open Access scholarly articles. The unobtrusive browser setting allows searching for a legal unpaywalled version of academic articles.
  • [Database] The Lens: Free and open patent & scholarly search. Includes datasets of patents, scholarly journal articles, scholarly books, biological sequences, conference proceedings, LibGuides, and more. The Lens features robust search features and analytics, and is an excellent Open Access metasearch, particularly in realms where integration of patent information would be helpful.
  • [Browser Extension/ Search Tool] Open Access Button: The Open Access Button will search for freely available, legal copies of the research you need. If it is not available, The OA Button will help you contact the authors to see if you can get a copy for private study.
  • [Twitter hashtag]: Using fair dealing/ fair use rights, academics on Twitter are providing scans of works for each other under the #ICanHazPDF hashtag. If all other avenues, including ILL, fail, you may get lucky.

Project Management, Analysis, and Citation Organization Tools

Staying organizing digitally will help online projects run smoothly.

  • [Website] Scholarly Research Tools - a UWinnipeg Guide to some of the best online research tools, including OSF for organizing projects, and Zotero for keeping track of citations - and monitoring retractions of papers you may be referencing.