Answered By: Cheryl Goldenstein
Last Updated: May 10, 2017     Views: 57

The library pays for access to articles by UW students, faculty, and staff through databases or journal subscriptions, so do not pay for the article. There are three possible reasons you're being asked to pay to download an article:

  1. The library does subscribe to a database or journal, but you are off-campus and not accessing the article through the library's web site.
  2. The library does not have an online subscription to that journal (or the article you need falls outside our subscription)
  3. The library subscribes, but you've run into a technical issue that the library needs to fix (pretty rare, but it happens).

Usually users are asked to pay for an article when they go directly to a journal website or from a Google search rather than going through the UW Libraries website. The first step to getting the article is to ensure you use the library databases and search engines to search for the article. If you are unfamiliar with searching library resources, the "Finding Scholarly Articles" is a short tutorial on this tutorial webpage that demonstrates how to search for articles.

Here are some additional troubleshooting options:

  • If you found the article abstract through a library database or Google Scholar and used Find It @ UW to access the article, backtrack to Find It @ UW. The library sometimes has access to the same journal from different databases, but dates of coverage can vary. Try a different option for accessing the article.  If you see only the option you already tried, click on Request It on the Find It @ UW page to get the article for free.
  • If you found the article using Google or another free search engine, see if the article has a DOI number (example: DOI: 10.1002/ir.388). Copy and paste that number into the DOI box in Citation Finder. Citation Finder searches Find It @ UW to see if UW has the article. Even if the library does not subscribe, Find It @ UW gives you a quick link to Request It so that you do not have to key in the article information to make your request.
  • If the article does not have a DOI, type the journal name into the ejournal search. Find It @ UW shows if UW has online or print subscriptions. If we have an online subscription, you'll need the year and/or volume number, issue, and article title to navigate to the full text. If we have only a print subscription, or no subscription shows up at all, go to Request It and type in the article information to make your request. 

If after you have confirmed that the article is not available in one of our numerous databases, the next option is to use Request It to get the article for free. Request It can take a couple of days, so you may want to double check that the library doesn't already have the article you need. The first time you use Request It, you will be required to enter your contact information.

If you think you've run into a technical problem with a journal, please contact Research Help. The library cannot fix the problem if we do not know about it!

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