Research publication is an expensive field, both for researcher and reader. Most of the scientific studies are behind the paywall when the researcher refuses to pay the publication fee for open-access publication.

Payment-asking publishers frustrate only the early researchers who don’t have Institutional e-library access. There are many illegal ways to download research papers. But for me, like many others, it’s no-nothing.

In this post, I’m going to share the Legal ways to download Research Papers for Free. No more guilt of using pirated content in your content.

Download Research Papers for Free


Google Scholar – Biggest Research Paper Search Engine

Download Research Paper Free Using Google Scholar
Paywalled Research Paper Can be Download Free using Google Scholar


I found around 40% of all the paywalled research papers using Google Scholar. When we search for any paper in Google Scholar, It also searches for its PDFs. If there is one available, it will show the direct link to the PDF in the front of the title.

Different universities, academic social networks or portfolio website of the researchers hosts these PDFs. By clicking on [PDF] you can directly download the research paper legally.


ERIC –  Archive of Journal and Non-Journal Academic Content

ERIC - US Department of Education
ERIC – An Archive to download Journal and Non-Journal Content


Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is a part of U.S. Department of education. This serves as an archive of Academic publications. After Google Scholar, this is my most favorable way to download research papers without paying the fee.

ERIC not only contains the journal publications but gray literature and book sources as well. Both journal and non-journal material indexed by ERIC is peer-reviewed. Twice a year, ERIC adds new research publications sources to their index database system.


Academic Social Networks – A Place where Researchers Meet Free Research papers and Book Chapters
Download research papers and book chapters for free on

There are about a half dozen of good academic social networks exclusively for researchers and scientists. They all are equipped with some great features. One of the features is to upload, share and cite the research papers. Following are top social networks,

Many researchers upload the copies of their research papers here.  You just need to search the paper you want to download. Not only papers, Complete books, and book chapters can be also found here.


Ecosia – Search PDF of Paper by Special Search Query

Download free papers and Plant trees
Allows you download papers by searching for specific filetype

Ecosia is a Bing-powered search engine. It has a nice feature to search PDF file for a specific name. When you hit search, it will crawl all the internet for the PDF of that name. Mostly it also gives links to academic social networks, university websites and personal websites of researchers.

There is something very special about this search engine. They plant a tree for every search query you make. The revenue generated through the ads on search engines helps to protect the environment. They have uploaded their financial reports also to make sure their users trust them.


Email – Contacting the Correspondence author for Free Copy of Paper

Get Free copy of the research paper by contacting corresponding author
You can find the email ID of the corresponding on paper.

In every paper published, there is a correspondence author in them whose email ID is mentioned there. This serves some different purpose but we can use to ask for a free copy of the paper or supplementary data.

Some people don’t find it good, but it’s not worse than downloading the papers from pirated websites.

If you fail to find the email ID in the paper. simply search the name of the author along with institution in Google. It will take you to the profile of the author on institution website. You can find the email ID there.

Bonus – Facebook Groups to Request Free Research Papers

There are many groups on Facebook where researchers and students share research papers with each other. You just have to post the link or DOI of your research article in the group along with your email ID. Anyone in the group who will have the research paper will share it with you.


If you have any suggestions or methods to download research papers, Please share with us. Your feedback will help us to improve our content.


  1. “Email – Contacting the Correspondence author for Free Copy of Paper”

    I have encountered authors who refused because they think I was trying to avoid paying the download fees. In reality, I have both institutional and personal access to the papers but internet glitches prevented me from downloading them. What I am trying to point out here is that asking from the authors only works sometime.

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