Skip to Main Content

Journal Sustainability: Virginia Research Libraries and Big Deals

Information about negotiations with Elsevier.

Alternative Access - When We Don't Subscribe

Quick guide to using Interlibrary Loan and ScienceDirect to find/access Elsevier journals
to which we no longer subscribe

Interlibrary Loan

The quickest way to obtain articles not available through ODU subscription is Interlibrary Loan. We are adding more options to speed up delivery (Reprints Desk, Get It Now, RapidILL), and we work with our academic library partners in Virginia to get you the materials you need for research and teaching.


ScienceDirect is the database of Elsevier journals and other materials. The benefits of using ScienceDirect:  

  1. You can search for your article and automatically populate the Interlibrary Loan form using "Get Access". (Before submitting the ILL form, make sure all the relevant article information is included.)
  2. The article you want may be available open access.
  3. You can search for a journal and browse the contents of current issues.
  4. You can sign in and create Alerts so you know when a new issue of a journal is available.

Other options:

  1. Use the LibKey option in most of our databases to find the full-text, if available.
  2. Install browser plug-ins (see below): Unpaywall and EndNote Click will search for open access versions of an article.
  3. Contact the author directly, or connect with the author through the Open Access Button plugin, ResearchGate or
  4. Google Scholar, PubMed Central, OSF Preprints and other search engines provide access to research in discipline-specific and institutional repositories. ODU's institutional repository is ODU Digital Commons.

For library staff: draft guide with additional options to assist users.

Tools to find open versions

One study says that approximately 50% of published papers are now freely available through repositories and preprint servers. Several new tools and plugins are available to detect free versions.

unpaywall logo


Find open-access versions of paywalled research papers, instantly with this web browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. A green “unlock” sign means that a free version of the paper is available elsewhere. A gray “lock” icon means that a free version was not found.

EndNote Click, formely Kopernio

Free web-browser plug-in to find legally-accessible copies of paywalled papers with one click. Users can click on a button to bring up the available PDF. Registration is required.

open access button logo

Open Access Button

If this plug-in can't find the open article, it allows you to automatically email the author to request the article.

LibKey Nomad

A browser extension that links a user to PDFs for articles available through ODU Libraries on the web. Works best with publisher websites and Wikipedia. 

LibKey is integrated into many of our databases (EbscoHost, ProQuest, Science Direct, Web of Science, etc).

google scholar logo


Google Scholar Button

This extension adds a browser button for easy access to Google Scholar from any web page.[doi] DOAI
(Digital Open Access Identifier)

A DOI resolver that takes you to a free version of the requested article, when available. Use before a DOI. Example: -- Info at:

chat loading...