Stop beating your head against the paywall | Science | AAAS
lterrat's bookmarks 2017-05-01
"... I was intrigued to learn about a new online plugin called Unpaywall. It’s free and quick to download, and it tells you at a glance whether the article is available without a subscription. It’s not magic or illegal. If a free full-text version can’t be found, Unpaywall doesn’t make one up or steal one. But it saves you the time and angst of dissecting each journal’s policies to figure out how to access something that you don’t yet even know whether you actually want to read in the first place.
Here’s how it works. After I open Chrome and perform a Google Scholar search (which I use instead of PubMed—please don’t accuse me of being a millennial), I get a little tab next to each article I click on. If the tab is green, then Unpaywall’s bots successfully trawled the web to find a free copy of the article—for example, from an author’s webpage, a preprint server, repositories such as PubMed Central (which funders are increasingly requiring), or even from the publisher itself—and I can blithely move forward and do science. If the tab is gray, then I know right away that no free version exists, and I will have to make the impossible choice of knowledge versus cheesy biscuits. If no tab appears, then I must be using Internet Explorer, which I only ever do by accident.
Now that I’ve added Unpaywall to my arsenal, why stop there? Why not develop a suite of new plugins to make research easier? Such as:
- Uncite: Strips a paper of all irrelevant citations the authors only threw in to appease collaborators
- Untitle: Removes unnecessary words from scientific article titles, bringing the average title from 85 words to three
- Unauthor: Eliminates authors who didn’t actually contribute to the paper
- Untext: Deletes all text, leaving only figures, which are the parts you really want to see anyway
- Unmethod: Strikes through the procedures in the Methods section that you won’t be able to replicate in your lab
- Unconclude: Gives the authors a “do over” to reinterpret their data because they screwed it up the first time
- Uncorrespond: Withdraws the email you sent to an article’s corresponding author asking about a missing fact right before discovering that the fact is in the next paragraph
- Unread: Purges your brain of a poorly written paper you’ve just read
- Unununennium: Gets rid of all references to Element 119, which is—let’s face it—a ridiculous element
Hopefully Unpaywall will make literature searches easier, and maybe it will even help you save some money on your future research. That's a lot of cheesy biscuits."