10 Science Journals You Can Access for Free

September 23, 2020 • Devin Partida

We live in one of the most amazing eras. We have access to the breadth of human knowledge at our fingertips. Unfortunately, much of it is locked behind paywalls or in academic science journals that require professional credentials to access. There are free science journals available, but they’re few and far between. Luckily, we’ve done all the legwork for you. Here are 10 science journals you can access for free:

1. Directory of Open Access Journals

Launched in 2003, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) serves as a database of open-access, peer-reviewed journals. It collates over 5 million articles across more than 15,000 different journals. You can browse the entire database or search for a specific subject. 

2. Elsevier

Paywalls might keep us from reading new studies, but on the Elsevier database, the publisher pays the fee to host their papers on this website. As a result, everything in this system is free as soon as it’s accepted — and these articles remain free forever. 

3. The Open Access Initiative

This is another collection of open access journals that you can explore without a credit card or professional credentials. This list collects more than 700 academic journals that are all open to the public and free for you to search or browse through. 

4. Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE)

This open-access journal is the brainchild of the Bielefeld University Library in Germany. Collectively, this digital library holds more than 200 million documents. Around 60% of its resources are open access, and the site lets you filter your searches to exclude anything locked behind a paywall. 

5. Dryad

In mythology, dryads are tree spirits, which makes them the perfect mascot to support the tree of knowledge. This particular Dryad is a database of open-access journals and papers managed by a not-for-profit organization. Like some other options on our list, everything is free to access, but there is a fee if you want to publish your work on their site. 

6. Zenodo

Named for Zenodotus, the first librarian of the legendary Library of Alexandria, Zenodo’s goal is to ensure that everyone can join in open science. The site was built and designed by researchers to give them a place to showcase their work. Everything on the website, including the free science journals, is searchable, and you can download and print directly from the site.

7. CORE

CORE is one of the biggest open-source research aggregators on the internet. It acts as a hub for more than 66 million open-source articles, with 5 million hosted directly on their website. The rest link directly back to the original publisher’s site, but everything is free and available for anyone to browse or read.

8. Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)

Not all open-source options are as broad as the ones we’ve listed here. There are plenty of specialty options as well, like the Education Resources Information Center. This database focuses specifically on topics related to the educational field. While there may be some external links that lead you to paywalls, you can search for articles hosted on ERIC’s site in a full-text format rather than leaving the website.

9. BioMed Central

If you’re looking for peer-reviewed medical journals that aren’t locked behind paywalls, look no further than BioMed Central. Here you’ll find research collected from nearly 300 open-access medical journals on topics like health and clinical medicine. 

10. PubMed

If you’ve ever searched for a medical study, you’ve probably come across PubMed at some point or another. The site serves as a hub for more than 30 million resources in medicine and life science. While a good portion of their information is locked behind a paywall, you can filter your search to only include free resources. It might not be the best database for free science journals, but it is an available option, and you can usually find what you’re looking for.

Knowledge Is Out There

Finding a study you’re interested in can be intimidating, but there are massive amounts of free information available out there. You just have to know where to look. 

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