Accessing scientific journals without going bankrupt

Thread Starter

ebp

Joined Feb 8, 2018
2,332
In another thread, someone called for a "citation" - meaning a reference to a source supporting a claim made. It isn't something I've seen a lot at AAC, but it certainly is something that comes up all the time in science-related forums.

It is depressing to go searching the web for scientific papers only to find the paper you want will cost you around US $40 for 24 hours of access if you don't subscribe to the publishing journal. You do typically get to keep a PDF. The IEEE, for example, publishes tons of stuff on all aspects of electronics, but it will also cheerfully put you in the poorhouse if you want to read articles and don't subscribe. Many people don't realize they may be able to get free access.

Many journals have agreements with institutional subscribers to allow alumni to access articles for free - with some hooks. Typically you can't do it from home - you actually have to go to the university's library and either use one of their computers or your own via their network. You may only be able to do this a an institution of which you are an alum', but it is worth checking if you no longer live where you went to school. You will likely have to have a library card for the institution, but that may be a simple matter. It isn't as convenient as doing it all from home or your office, but having free access can be a wonderful thing.

I presume this type of access is also available to graduates of at least some technical schools, though universities are more likely to subscribe to a much broader range of journals. Alas, even universities are facing reducing their subscriptions due to cost. Journal publishing is a very greedy and very lucrative business and prices for some journals are nothing short of obscene.
 

Raymond Genovese

Joined Mar 5, 2016
1,658
In another thread, someone called for a "citation" - meaning a reference to a source supporting a claim made. It isn't something I've seen a lot at AAC, but it certainly is something that comes up all the time in science-related forums.

It is depressing to go searching the web for scientific papers only to find the paper you want will cost you around US $40 for 24 hours of access if you don't subscribe to the publishing journal. You do typically get to keep a PDF. The IEEE, for example, publishes tons of stuff on all aspects of electronics, but it will also cheerfully put you in the poorhouse if you want to read articles and don't subscribe. Many people don't realize they may be able to get free access.

Many journals have agreements with institutional subscribers to allow alumni to access articles for free - with some hooks. Typically you can't do it from home - you actually have to go to the university's library and either use one of their computers or your own via their network. You may only be able to do this a an institution of which you are an alum', but it is worth checking if you no longer live where you went to school. You will likely have to have a library card for the institution, but that may be a simple matter. It isn't as convenient as doing it all from home or your office, but having free access can be a wonderful thing.

I presume this type of access is also available to graduates of at least some technical schools, though universities are more likely to subscribe to a much broader range of journals. Alas, even universities are facing reducing their subscriptions due to cost. Journal publishing is a very greedy and very lucrative business and prices for some journals are nothing short of obscene.
As a research scientist for many years, I enjoyed full access to virtually any scientific journal and to many other sources of scientific reference material. In the very rare case that I could not get to it myself, I could get it through Lonesome Doc or some other kind of inter-library load (I never met a Librarian that I didn't like). All of this was legitimate and necessary for my job and I made use of it constantly. Journal surfing is much more engaging than web surfing.

Upon retirement, all that access went away. I miss it greatly. I can't replace it without doing some kind of formal consulting and the like. There are, however, a few tricks. For example, for any peer-reviewed journal article, the publisher will provide an author PDF. Frequently, these can be found (rightly or wrongly) on the author's web site. There are other tricks. Keep trying, using the PubMed abstract for search terms - all that stuff.

I'm not going to comment on the "racket" nature as it is too sensitive topic for me. But, I will say, it may be changing. I was so impressed by one effort that I wrote about what they were doing (see here https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/archive.org-and-the-macarthur-100change-grant-a-100-million-dollar-bet/). That effort did not win the grand grant, but I don't think it has stopped.

Consider this, your local library buys a book and you can go take it out (presumably you helped pay for that Library). Why can't someone in another State take out that same book, by mutual agreement? With electronic media, the geography is not an issue. So, why can't that happen with all media, including books and journals. Ok, we can't both check it out at exactly the same time (assuming there is only one copy), but it could be shared and shared easily. That may be a direction that we are going in and I support it and I think it will make a big positive impact.
 

Janis59

Joined Aug 21, 2017
1,175
RE: ebp
Yes, so the greedyness crushes the all good and kind over the World.
More over, often even the very author is bound by strict punishment if he shows someone the part of his publication. Its may be rephrased that most of sci journals are just the `black-holes` where to trash own efforts let no-one never will have an access to it.
Therefore some Ukrainian and russian scientists organized more than one `underground` access points where most of publications are available cost-free. No very much legally - of course, yes, but it works anyway do we glorify it or condemn. The German and Swedish scientists often has their institutional subscriptions what are poorly overviewed thus one may `loan` the password and use it from other land. However these are changing time by time, so the `donor` ought be personally wellknown.
Sorry, I cant tell here it where and how exactly, but I bold the fact that it exists a system how to beat the blood-sucking journals demanding yearly salary for seeing solely one publication.
By the way, many good sci books are available at torrenting systems, and not less even at UDP systems. But that changes from land to land, is it tolerated to use it or not. For example, at us I have no need to hide my IP when use a torrents, but in Netherlands I have heard one may get a 5 years of prizon if his IP-muxing software will fail to hide him. Therefore the answer on Your question heavily depends on the land where You live.
 
Top