Four years ago this week two undergraduate students had the idea for what became the Open Access Button — a browser extension for people to report paywalls and share why they needed access to the paper.
Since it’s our fourth birthday, here are four big milestones we’ve achieved since then:
- Comprehensive searching for Open Access: We can now instantly find papers from every discoverable, legal, preserved Open Access source (sorry, ResearchGate and Academia.edu).
- Authors sharing on request: When our users ask for content, authors answer! When articles and data aren’t freely accessible we email the author asking them to share their research in a repository. The request system is young, but we’re excited that it’s already helping liberate research behind paywalls — for everyone.
- Search with anything: In addition to searching by URL, DOI, and PMID, you can also now search for research by title and citation.
- A powerful API and tools: We just released a new, cleaner website focused on getting you the research you need, but if you want to build your own tools there is an open, documented, free API. Take a look!
Next year we hope it’ll be five milestones, but we need your help. Tell your librarian about how we’re putting Open Access into interlibrary loan to save libraries money! If you’re a librarian interested in learning about the Button’s integration with ILL, signup for more info.
Let’s continue to keep smashing paywalls together in our fourth year!