Still can’t access the article you need? Try this…

Photo 24-06-2007, 07 57 05

(Edited version of original by neeel on Flickr – used under a CC-BY license)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post suggesting a number of options you can try if we don’t have access to the journal article you need. Since writing that post, I’ve come across another method you can try which, after a bit of investigation, does seem to work pretty well!

As many of you will know, most journal articles have a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) associated with them. This DOI acts as a unique identifier for the article (rather like the ISBN of a book), ensuring that you always have a direct link to the article, regardless of any changes to the publication. So, for example, the following DOI:

…will always link to the article Prevalence and correlates of local health department activities to address mental health in the United States by Purtle et al.

A new service has emerged that builds upon DOIs and directs users to an Open Access version of the paper they are trying to access. The Digital Open Access Identifier (DOAI) resolver simply requires the user to replace with in any DOI link to be directed to an Open Access version of the paper (if available). For example, the paper Toward a new architecture for global mental health (DOI:, listed in PsycInfo, is not currently available if we try to find full text access via our subscriptions (by clicking on the Check for full text access link). However, if I use the DOAI resolver (replacing in the DOI with

…we are directed to a version of the paper deposited in ResearchGate (incidentally, check out this article on the problems with commercial repositories).

Another example is the paper Perspectives of Australian nursing directors regarding educational preparation for mental health nursing practice (DOI:, also indexed in PsycInfo and also unavailable. Using the same process as above, the DOIA resolver re-directs me to ResearchGate once more where I can freely access the paper I need.

Now I’ve not encountered a huge amount of information about this service, so I’m not entirely clear how exactly it operates. I’m not sure, for example, whether a ResearchGate version will be prioritised over an institutional repository version (I hope the latter is prioritised). However, it looks like a really interesting tool and could be really helpful in accessing articles that appear to be inaccessible (and thus result in submitting an inter-library loan request unnecessarily). It won’t work for every article, of course, but it’s another option should you find yourself hitting a brick wall.


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