SpeakerNet News Compilations

Access to Scholarly Journals

Mike Schatzki

I need access to scientific and scholarly journals, either for no charge or for a fee.

— Paul Schempp

One of the easiest ways to gain access to scholarly journals is to hire a graduate student to do a literature search for you. Give them keywords and they access the university databases to collect the types of articles from the journals you would like. They can email you the results. I recommend a graduate student, as they are both more skilled and responsible than an undergraduate. For a typical review, students receive about $250 (at $10 an hour it takes about 25 hours to do a thorough review of a topic). It helps if you can meet periodically with this person to clarify exactly what you are looking for (which is why I suggest contacting a local university). If you don’t know any students or faculty at the university, contact a reference librarian at the university library and ask for suggestions as to who to contact (names, phone numbers and emails for these people should be on the university library Web site). They can suggest someone for you.

— Don Schmincke

First, join only the top memberships — like AAAS and IEEE — for the R&D areas you’re interested in and get their journals, and then add a couple from specialties like Archeology magazine, etc. I also get Tech Review from MIT as an alumnus. You also may want to check with your university to see if alumni get library access like students. Finally, Science News has evolved from a great clipping service to a formal publication which I find does a pretty good job across disciplines. If an article interests you, they provide the source so you can get the full text.

— Ellen Taliaferro

I suggest you routinely go to PubMed (it is the government search site for medical articles) and look for the full articles which are growing in number.

Also the authors can give no-cost reprints. For instance, if you wanted to read one of my full articles published in JEM, the publisher will want $44 for your access. But if you email me, I am happy to give you access to five articles comp.

Some journals will give you access for one day so you can pay the day rate and fulfill all your requests on the same day.

— Rebecca Morgan

Some colleges allow you to pay a small annual fee to access their physical and online library, whether you are an alum of theirs or not. If you haven’t checked with your alma mater or nearby university, it might be worth a call to their librarian (not the student clerks).

— David Teten

Here are some sources of academic papers:

— Rita Smircich

PubMed is the biggest source of free on-line scientific journals. Also try scholar.Google.com, click on "all X versions" sometimes pdf’s are posted. Also try your local public library.

— Kimberly Wuilfert

There are different databases for different subjects. Make sure you are seeking in databases that are for science and not the humanities and so forth.

If your library’s database only offers abstracts, than find another database. Also, use your university libraries to find the paper version of the journal that the abstract referenced.

If you are a scholar, you may be able to get special access to your alma mater’s stacks and databases. Ask them. You can approach any major institution’s library, not just your alma mater. They will ask you to fill out a form and specify what you are working on and needing access for. They may give you special access for a period of time. Sometimes there is a small fee, not always.

Research-based research libraries also offer tutorial classes for using their library.

— Bruce Stewart

I found a group named HighBeam Research. They seem to have a large reach into all kinds of research info, articles and data. You can try them out for a week for free! Check it out and I hope they help.

— Janet Jacobsen

If you enroll in your local college for even one course, you’ll have online library access. Often you can register as an “undeclared” major for a small fee, which means you can take a class here and there without being accepted into a specific degree program. Here in Arizona, any citizen can get a library card for the state universities, but it doesn’t give you at-home online access to the journals. However, if you go to the university library itself, you can get online and access whatever you need. Or you can hire a grad student who is enrolled to do your article searches for you.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions