How to Download Research Papers for Free

Scientific papers are an important component of the research community, however, it cost about $30 to download these papers. This fee is a barrier to science as many researchers cannot afford to part with such an amount for every research paper of interest.

In fact, there are arguments that the current model of paying for a research paper is a hindrance to the progress of research. How place is t help you circumvent this barrier and download any research paper for free.

There are a number of websites that helps you download research paper for free online. Although some of these websites are operating illegally, it has served millions of researchers and academics around the world. Therefore, we have put together, the 7 best websites to download research papers for free online.

7 Best Websites to Download Research Papers Free Online

Below is a list of the seven best websites where you can download any scientific journal and publication of your choice.

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1. Sci-Hub

Launched on 5th September 2011 by Kazakhstani graduate student Alexandra Elbakyan, Sci-hub is the first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers.

Sci-hub mirrors

How to Use Sci-hub to Download a Research Paper

  • Visit
  • Type the full name, URL, or DOI of the research paper you want to download. The DOI of the paper can be seen either on top of the paper or at the bottom.

2. Library Genesis

Library Genesis is one of the biggest databases that allows the free download of scientific papers. It houses over 2.7 million books and over 58 million scientific publications. In addition to scientific papers, the site has entire journals, non-fiction books, fictions books and lots more.

Library Genesis mirrors

How to Use Library Genesis to Download a Research Paper

  • Visit
  • Type your keywords or title of the paper into the search field.
  • Select the paper type e.g. scientific journal
  • Click the “Search!” button to fetch your paper.

3. PDF Drive

Another free search engine where you can download millions of books, journals is PDF Drive. The PDF Drive library is up-to-date with continuously growing and offering enormous databases to search and download files.

How to Use PDF Drive to Download a Research Paper

  • Visit
  • Type your keywords or title of the paper into the search field.
  • Select the paper type or documents
  • Click the “Download!” button to fetch your paper.

4. Unpaywall Extension

Unpaywall is a massive open database where you can access more than 21 million free scholarly articles. The articles come from over 50,000 publishers and content repositories, and you can easily access them using the Unpaywall browser extension for Chrome.

To download the extension:

  1. Go to:
  2. Click the “ADD TO CHROME” button.
  3. On the Chrome Web Store page, click “Add to Chrome.”
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5. Directory of Open Access Journals

DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. Launched in 2003, the website has over 17,500 journals and are present in over 80 languages.

How to Use DAJ to Download a Research Paper

  • Visit
  • Type your keywords or title of the paper into the search field.
  • Select the paper type or documents you want to download
  • Click the “Download!” button to fetch your paper.

6. Open Access Button

The Open Access Button started when a group of students got tired of hitting paywalls. To fix the broken system, they launched The Open Access Button was launched in November 2013, leveraging public repositories of research papers to make publicly funded research accessible to all.

To use the Open Access Button to Download a Research Paper

  1. Go to:
  2. Click the “Add to Chrome” button to install the Open Access Button browser extension.
  3. The next time you can’t access the research you need, simply click on the Open Access Button to access it.
  4. If you don’t use Google Chrome, you can use the online version of the Open Access Button, which is accessible at


CORE is an aggregator of open access research published in research repositories and journals worldwide. Its chief goal is to support the rights of citizens and the general public to access the results of research towards which they contributed by paying taxes, and it achieves it by offering seamless access to millions of open access research papers.

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To Download a Research Paper using CORE

  1. Go to:
  2. Type your keywords into the search field
  3. Click the “Search” button.
  4. Click the “Get PDF” button to download any research paper you want.

8. ScienceOpen

ScienceOpen is a professional networking platform for scholars that offers access to over 40 million research papers in all areas of science. The purpose of Science Open is to explore new ways to open up information for the scholarly community, and it’s safe to say that the project has so far achieved its goal splendidly.

To Download Research Papers using Science Open

  1. Go to:
  2. Click the green “Search” button in the top-right corner.
  3. Type your keywords into the search field. Apart from keywords, you can also search by authors, collections, journals, publishers, and others.


Gone are the days when you have to pay through your nose to access research papers. In as much as these websites provide free access to research journals and books, it is recommended to use a virtual private network (VPN) service in other to protect yourself.

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