Smash The Paywalls

paywallOne of the most common questions I get asked is where can I go to read more? All too frequently knowledge is hidden behind paywalls or restricted to expensive journals which are inaccessible without some kind of university affiliation. Therefore, here’s a list of places where you can access knowledge without shelling out the disgusting fees charged by journals or needing to be affiliated to a higher education institution.

Let me know if there are any I’ve missed in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.


  • If you know the title of a specific paper tweet the title with #icanhazpdf. Responses will come from students who have access to the paper and you can arrange email delivery via DM. (Delete your tweet once you’ve got an answer from someone!


  • is one of the largest stores of academic research on the web. Even if you do not have university affiliation you can sign up for a free account and search and read papers without having to download them
  • Most, if not all UK based universities should have a research repository that is open access and stores the research of academics who work there. For example, you can view Oxford’s here:
  • is an exceptionally useful compendium of papers and longer works
  • Project Gutenburg is a great site for older works which can be downloaded in a variety of formats. (For example, here’s a link to Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism:
  • If you want to keep up to date with the latest publications from the journals in your field sign up for the alerts from JournalTOC:
  • If you are at all interested in Marxist or left wing thought then bookmark and read everything they post, from Marx and Engels up to more contemporary thinkers.
  • A high quality directory of Open Access academic journals:
  • If you know the title, DOI or just have the most general idea of what you are looking for in terms of science research, use the excellent
  • Open Library of the Humanities collects open access journals, which don’t charge authors for their work! Their mission statement is ‘to support and extend open access to scholarship in the humanities – for free, for everyone, for ever.’
  • Digital Commons Network: Open access works from nearly 500 higher education institutions:
  • OAPEN Library: Mostly humanities and social sciences texts, free, open access and easy to search:
  • The Met has a online section here:
  • For arts, humanities, media and culture resources check out
  • For philosophy, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is invaluable and extremely well written across a broad range of philosophical issues:
  • Smithsonian Libraries: The online library (mostly public domain) can be found here:
  • The preterhuman network hosts a HUGE collection of texts here:
  • FREE BOOKS! A whole list of books in pdf form on race, class and gender (including works by Angela Y Davis, Judith Butler and more)
  • MORE FREE BOOKS! A HUGE list of open source Marxism books:
  • One of the largest sources of ebooks online:


  • PhilosophyTube: Olly is doing incredible work giving away his philosophy knowledge for free. Check out his channel here:
  • PBSIdeaChannel: Thought provoking essays on everything from the history of pizza to the language of emoji’s to the economics of superheros:
  • 8BitPhilosophy – Philosophy explained through gaming:
  • Kyle Kallgren, Lindsay Ellis and Dan Olson – Great video essays on film, media and cultural analysis.  Kyle’s Channel is here: Lindsay’s channel is here
    : and Dan’s channel is here:
  • European Graduate School – Regularly attracting some of the biggest names in the humanities and hosts videos of their lectures here:


  • One of the best ways to read the work of a thinker or academic you are interested in is get in touch with them directly. Universities will all have a staff directory which lists email addresses. Bear in mind their schedule so don’t expect a rapid response, but generally approaches to the author of a paper which shows an interest in their work will be received very positively.

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