Much of the scientific research that could be useful to MPA management is in journals with expensive subscription fees, which managers and their agencies often can’t afford. Here are some tips on how to access science articles for free:

  • Instead of simply searching for science on Google, search Google Scholar. Google Scholar does a better job of finding free versions of journal articles. If a free PDF version of an article is available, a link to it will appear to the right of each search result in Google Scholar.
  • If you find an interesting paper but it is behind a paywall (in other words, it requires a subscription to access it), email the corresponding author for a copy. The corresponding author is listed with the article abstract. The author is allowed to send you a free copy, and will often do so upon request.
  • Use the Unpaywall plugin on your Chrome web browser. The Unpaywall plugin automatically searches millions of research papers available for free on government and university web servers, legally uploaded by the authors themselves.
  • You can also use the Open Access Button, the #canihazpdf hashtag on Twitter, or Sci-Hub to search for journal articles. For Sci-Hub’s latest URL, Google it. Note: Sci-Hub is not strictly legal and MPA News does not condone its use.
  • MarXiv, the new free repository for marine conservation science and marine climate change science, has a short how-to video available on YouTube. MarXiv launched very recently (November 2017) and there are very few articles there now, but it will continue to grow in the coming months and years.