difficulty finding papera


Good Afternoon all,

I just wanted some advice on finding papers that cannot be located and only in abstract form. I have a lot of papers that are not accessible through my library or databases. Is there any other way of getting hold papers other than going through the tedious task of contacting the authors for a copy?

Thanks a lot



Hi Leergn, people do share papers through this forum sometimes... are you looking for a particular paper, or just asking generally?


hello Reenie,

Thank you for your reply; I did notice people share papers on here which is great but I was asking in general :-)

I know tracking down authors is a good way and I suppose going in other libraries to see if they subscribe to the particular journals eh?




Hi Leergn! I think some people regard contacting authors almost as networking, for want of a better word.

If anyone knows other ways to track down papers, please post! It does seem quite time consuming.


My second effort to post; my first effort disappeared into the cyberspace ether:-( I will copy it before I submit this time around!

I have a few suggestions:

Yes contacting the author can work, and indeed sometimes does. However, not all authors are that open with their work, or indeed one suspects, reads their emails regularly! To be fair, they might be restricted from sharing papers if they are available on a subscription database.

On a related note, I often check the author's university webpage - occasionally, just occasionally, they have a link to the paper under their publications.

It is always worth throwing the title into Google scholar. I usually put the title into the search bar followed by 'pdf'. If there is a freely available pdf the paper should appear this way. Don't forget to check the 'all 'x' versions' underneath the link.

Try putting the title into regular Google and by-pass Scholar - I have struck it lucky occasionally with this method.

Posting on this forum has a good success rate. It's probably advisable not to post a request for a paper at the weekend given that the forum is less busy at that time. Your paper request can get lost at the weekend although Reenie is very good at bumping threads up (up)

Re electronic journals and databases - universities pay very large sums of money for these. Therefore, utilise your contacts in other universities. Don't assume that just because your uni has one database and another uni the same database listed on their library website, that the two unis have the same level of access. This is not always the case.

Linked to the previous point - I generally start with the electronic journals. However, if I don't get the paper there, I usually go into to the actual database and check that way. You would imagine that one would automatically cross check with the other but that is not always the case.

Finally, don't always believe what you read! For example, if you're searching for a 2002 paper but your uni electronic journal portal states the journal is available only from 2008 onwards, check anyway. These electronic journals and databases have to be constantly updated and it could be a case that the updates are behind. Always worth a check!

Hope this helps somewhat but I would be interested in hearing other opinions.


Hello Ady,

Thank you very much for your advice, very helpful :-)



Ady: super-helpful as always!