Note: as of April 1, 2021, UC access to Elsevier articles has been restored, and this an archived copy of the guide to accessing Elsevier articles. For current information about Elsevier and UC, see the actively maintained page.

By April 1, 2021, UC will have regained access to all articles published in Elsevier journals the libraries subscribed to before, plus additional journals to which UC previously did not subscribe. Access to those journals in ScienceDirect will start to be restored March 16, 2021 and will continue to be added until they are all available on April 1.

Between March 16 and April 1, use UC e-Links or the quick guide below, to full text of journals to which access has not yet been restored.

Quick guide: Access to Elsevier articles

Graphic on alternative access options

Enlarge this graphic: Alternative access to Elsevier articles

Questions? Contact your library

How to access Elsevier articles

Find an open access copy

Some authors may have already posted their articles open access (OA), either in the journal, in a repository, on a personal webpage, or on an academic networking website. It is worth checking to see if the article you’re seeking is already online and free of charge by searching its title in Google or Google Scholar


There are several browser extensions or plug-ins you can install that will search compiled collections of open access articles, as well as search the internet for an open access version of a desired article.

  • Open Access Button (OA Button): From the OA Button’s website, you can enter an article’s URL, DOI (a unique identifier), title, or other information to check for free and legal open access versions. Even better, the OA Button also offers Chrome and Firefox extensions. Once installed, these extensions will automatically search for an open access copy. When an open access copy is not found, the OA Button can contact the author directly.
  • Unpaywall: You can either directly search Unpaywall’s database of millions of open access articles by entering the DOI for an article, or (more easily) install the Chrome/Firefox browser extension, which will point you to any open access versions of paywalled articles you come across online. Unpaywall is also integrated into UC e-Links.

Online repositories

There are a number of repositories into which authors have deposited (self-archived) copies of their articles. Most repositories are well-indexed, so merely searching for the article should surface an open access copy if one exists.

Note: The UC Libraries do not endorse using Sci-Hub for article access.

Request it from the author

Most publishers allow responsible sharing of your own publications. One way to get an article is to contact an author and ask for a PDF of a preprint. The author’s name and institution (if available) are usually shown on the preview page of the article. Some authors are open to receiving requests for articles via social networking sites where researchers share their work, such as, ResearchGate, Mendeley, and HumanitiesCommons

Alternatively, you can make a request to the author via Twitter using the hashtag #icanhazpdf with a link to the publication you need. 

Get it from the library

Interlibrary Loan

You can use the request service to access interlibrary loan (ILL). Your campus’s ILL unit participates in a global resource sharing network whose mission is to support your research. All ten UC campuses have contracted with an article supply service (ReprintsDesk) to enable expedited (albeit expensive) article acquisition and delivery when the need for an article is urgent. ILL staff are available and happy to assist you. Visit your campus library’s web page to find ILL contact information.

Contact your library


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