At Stony Brook University Libraries, we subscribe to a large number of resources that are behind a “paywall,” and therefore expensive or inaccessible to the general public. SBU faculty, staff, and students have access to these databases, and when you come to campus for an instruction session, we are also able to allow you temporary guest access while you are in the computer lab during the instruction session. Unfortunately, you will not have this same access when you leave campus.
However, there are an increasing number of opportunities for the public to access peer-reviewed journal articles, dissertations, historical materials, and other resources for free through “open access” initiatives. If you are not able to come to campus, or, if you would like to find these resources after your visit, here are some freely available ways to find high quality academic resources.
For scholarly articles, either peer-reviewed or self-archived:
arXiv.org (Cornell University): A free distribution service and open access archive for over 1.5 million articles in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics. Many authors put their “pre-prints” here. The papers in this collection are self-archived by authors and the collection is not peer reviewed.
BioMed Central: part of Springer/Nature, BMC publishes open access journals in science and medicine.
DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals): collection of peer-reviewed open access e-journals.
JSTOR Open Content: Open Access books and peer-reviewed journals, as well as journal content published prior to the last 95 years in the U.S., or prior to the last 143 years if initially published internationally.
MDPI: Search for articles published in 304 diverse, peer-reviewed, open access journals from a variety of fields in the sciences.
PLOS (Public Library of Science): nonprofit, open access publisher focusing on providing free access to peer-reviewed research on topics in science and medicine. Its open access peer reviewed journals include the following:
PLOS also includes PLOS Collections, digital collections of research projects, and PLOS Blogs, which includes short informal posts written by experts in a wide array of fields in science and medicine.
Open Access on MUSE: from Project MUSE, open access e-journals and ebooks from university presses and scholarly societies.
PubMed Central (PMC): free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).
WikiJournals: The WikiJournal User Group is a publishing group of freely available open access, peer reviewed academic journals, including the WikiJournal of Medicine, WikiJournal of Science, WikiJournal of Humanities, WikiJournal of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Behavior, and WikiJournal Preprints.
For books, ebooks, dissertations, theses, reference, & OER:
epubBooks.com: free public domain eBooks that you can download in the EPUB format.
Google Books: Previews and full-text ebooks. Full-text books are out of copyright, or books in which Google received permission from the publisher to reproduce.
Hathi Trust Digital Library: a repository providing access to public domain and in-copyright content from a variety of sources, including Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house partner institution initiatives.
Internet Archive: Ebooks and Texts Archive: contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts, and academic books.
Journalist's Resource: A project of Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative, Journalist's Resource curates, summarizes, and contextualizes high-quality research on "newsy" public policy topics.
JSTOR Open Content: Open Access books and peer-reviewed journals, as well as journal content published before 1923 in the United States (and prior to 1870 elsewhere).
Mason OER Metafinder: provides a real-time, simultaneous search of 21 different sources for open educational resources.
OAPEN Library: Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences.
Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD): OATD currently indexes more than 2,000,000 theses and dissertations.
Open Book Publishers: freely-available ebooks and e-textbooks in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Online Books Page: over 3 million free books on the web, maintained by John Mark Ockerbloom at University of Pennsylvania.
Project Gutenberg: first and largest single collection of free ebooks that are out of copyright in the United States.
Project Muse: open access e-journals and ebooks from university presses and scholarly societies.
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Open (PQDT Open):PQDT Open provides the full text of open access dissertations and theses free of charge. You can quickly and easily locate dissertations and theses relevant to your discipline, and view the complete text in PDF format.
Even more options:
You can use the SBU library discovery layer to find peer-reviewed open access journals:
Do an "everything" search with your search terms
Filter the results by "peer-reviewed" and "open access" (and anything else useful such as date)
Keep exploring the web! There are countless more, especially when it comes to primary sources. See, for example, the Library of Congress’ long list of digitized collections: https://www.loc.gov/collections
Library Administration: 631.632.7100
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