UC has been out of contract with Elsevier since January 2019 and no longer has access to certain content. This will mean some changes to how UC scholars access certain Elsevier journal articles:

  • Access to any articles published from 2019 forward will no longer be available via Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform.
  • UC will retain access via ScienceDirect to older articles from these journals (download list of journal titles and years).
  • UC will no longer have direct access via ScienceDirect to older articles from these journals (download list of journal titles and years). This list only includes Elsevier journals for which UC previously had a subscription.

Many of these articles are available on other platforms. Use UC e-Links or the quick guide below to check for full text copies.

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 Academia.edu, 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