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Library Guides

Open Access Resources: Introduction

Open access FAQ

Open Access logoWhat is Open Access?

Open access (OA) refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books. OA content is open to all, with no access fees.

Is Open Access material appropriate for academic work?

Reputable Open Access publishers clearly advertise their quality-control systems for publications, which are easy to check precisely because they are OA. Well-established publishers who produce OA work ensure that quality control is adhered to when they publish books or articles on an Open Access basis.

What are Open Access textbooks?

Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed.

These books have been reviewed by academics from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organisation.

Can I use this material legally in my teaching and research?

Readers of Open Access publications  are allowed to redistribute, re-use and adapt the content in new works (in accordance with the
Creative Commons licence selected). It's good practice to check the copyright status of each item that has been published via open access.Remember to ACKNOWLEDGE your sources using correct referencing.


Related Guides

Find OA content with these browser tools

Unpaywall plugin

Add the Unpaywall app to Chrome. Search for content that you can use legally.  Sources include repositories run by universities, governments, and scholarly societies, as well as open content hosted by publishers.

LibKey Nomad

LibKey Nomad is a browser extension that provides single click access to library content from publisher websites, PubMed, Wikipedia and more.

Adding the extension:

  1. Go to:
  2. Scroll down and select the browser you are using.
  3. You will get a prompt to download or add the extension
  4. Search for and select 'University of Westminster' from the dropdown menu.

After you have completed this step if ever you are browsing a publisher website or wikipedia, if a mentioned article is available through University of Westminster, a button will pop up for the article, or next to the reference entry in wikipedia to indicate availability.

Open Access Button

Use the Open Access search box to locate the OA version of an article, or add this extension to your Chrome browser.  Learn more on the Open Access Button website.

EndNote Click (formerly Kopernio)

Automatically search the Library's subscriptions, pre-print servers, institutional repositories and private blogs for free PDFs.

Works with Web of Science, Pubmed, Google Scholar and 1000s of other academic platfroms including ScienceDirect and JSTOR.

Go to the EndNote Click website for more information and instructions on how to install the plug-in on your browser.