We urgently need trusted knowledge that’s fairly owned, created, and read. We’re addressing that by creating a family of library-aligned, open source tools built not-for-profit, but for-change. Our tools make it simpler to do research without subscriptions.

The project started when students got tired of hitting paywalls. Instead of accepting their frustration, they became inspired and took an idea to track the impact of paywalls to a hackday. The Open Access Button was launched in November 2013.

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How it works

Finding free, legal, full-text articles

Thanks to the efforts of librarians, scholars, and technologists and the Open Access movement it’s easier than ever to legally and freely read millions of articles. Our sources include all of the aggregated repositories in the world, hybrid articles, open access journals, and those on authors personal pages.

We don't use content from ResearchGate or Academia.edu.

Our tools for libraries will leverage paid-for subscription to journals, and the interlibrary loan system, a ubiquitous, powerful system for getting access to articles without subscriptions.

Making research available

When an article isn’t freely available we ask the authors to share it by putting it into a repository. We help authors share quickly, legally, and widely so that not only you get access - but everyone does, forever!

Long term, we’re building a request system for research that can open up articles, data, methods, and code. We believe that until it’s shared, it’s not really science. With most knowledge stuck behind paywalls or on hard drives, our current request systems (e.g “available on request” or “email the author”) are not up the task and instead drive scientific distrust, not advancement. We believe a request system for science should be open, community-owned infrastructure that’s free to use, citable, effective, safe, and just - not an email lost to a broken address or ignored in an overflowing inbox.

Built by

Joe McArthur

Co-Founder and Director

London, UK


Mark MacGillivray

Lead Developer

Edinburgh, Scotland


Natalia Norori

Request Manager

Costa Rica


Sam Ballard


London, UK


The Open Access Button is currently funded by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

Alongside active team members, many have come and gone from the project and contributed critical work. Thanks to Jisc, Open Society Foundations, Center for Open Science, and others for their support.

The Open Access Button is supported by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). SPARC is a global library coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education.

Get in touch

We'd love to hear from you! We can be found on our blog, Twitter, Facebook and GitHub - or say hello via email at [email protected].