Academic Access with Browser Extensions

If you are looking for additional features in your browser, modification of content in your browser, or you long to integrate all your other services with your browser – welcome to the world of browser extensions. And now, this useful piece of software is set to join in the fray of catalysts in academic publishing. From searching for references, citations, and literature, to collaborations in writing, an impressive amount of research and academic interaction now happens online. And in order to improve this digital academic experience there exist a host of browser extensions.

open access button


There are extremely handy tools for reference management, for citing sources automatically, for annotating, bookmarking and archiving web pages, for fast and quick access to academic articles, etc. However, all these support to the research scholars and academics is helpful only in the case of articles that can be accessed and are in the arena of open access journal articles. So when you hit the wall of traditional subscription-based journals that withhold scientific articles unless you buy their access, or rent them, or are affiliated with a higher educational institution that subscribes to them, are there any browser extensions to help you access these very research articles for free.

Open access advocates can now rejoice at yet another milestone in their movement to let humanity share all collective knowledge. Browser extensions such as the Open Access Button and Unpaywall help you get free and legal access to articles which are otherwise restricted. These browser extensions collect and sort content from numerous open-access repositories and data sources worldwide to find free and legally accessible full-text articles for the student researcher. They work within the copyright laws for a better infrastructure of your research projects and actively support the open access movement.



Lindsay McKenzie opined in her article that browser extensions such as these could very well shake up the world of academic publishing. And evidently so, because, when scholars realize that open access versions of articles are accessible online for free then questioning the expensive subscriptions is definitely the next step. The toll on academic publishing seems quite telling at this point for the future ahead of subscription journals. But, time traveling is still not possible and none can foresee the future so predictions are no good in this case.

If we are to instead take the case of green open access labels, then they haven’t triggered cancellations of subscription-based journals, not yet. All university policies have an allowance for publishers to protect themselves through a loophole, deposit mandates or author waivers. Since 1991, physicists have self-archived their work and the major publishers of physics journals have acknowledged that no cases of cancellations can be attributed to open access archiving.

Browser extensions providing free versions of journal articles can work only when a copy has been deposited in a repository and if green OA labels are any indications then they might not bring a sea-change but yes, a systemic change can be on the cards. In conclusion, browser extensions will surely dent the traditional academic publishing model if not overrule it in the near future.

Share This Article

Written by

Total Views: 10,842 views