Some of you may remember oaDOI, a tool that searches for an Open Access (OA) version of an article when provided with a digital object identifier (DOI). Impactstory, the team behind oaDOI, has just announced the upcoming release of a new tool based on the oaDOI API called Unpaywall and it looks to be very useful indeed.
Unpaywall operates on the same principle as oaDOI: it hooks onto an article’s DOI and searches a number of sources for an OA version of that article. The main difference here is that, while oaDOI requires you to enter a DOI into a search box, Unpaywall is a Google Chrome extension and performs that search in the background automatically when you visit the landing page for an article. An unobtrusive tab will pop up on the page, as can be seen in the example to the right, which will be green if an OA link is found and gray if not. Users can then click the tab to be taken to an OA version of the article (if one was found). Finding a DOI and entering into a search isn’t exactly an onerous task, but users are often unwilling to take those few extra steps; the streamlining that Unpaywall provides means that it’s far more likely for researchers to bring into their usual workflow.
Unpaywall officially releases on April 4th, but Impactstory has made the extension available now and I have yet to run into any issues. There are still a few limitations, though, to how useful Unpaywall might prove to be: