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Access to research from your local public library
Many local public libraries in the US, especially those in large urban areas, have excellent access to a full range of databases with full text journal articles. If you are not part of a large university, check with your library to see what they have.
Free online databases
While these online databases are free, there is no guarantee that the resources (such as journal articles) are also free.
PubMed is one of the world's premier biomedical research databases. Try searching PubMed before going into the individual journal sites listed below as PM links to the articles from many of these sites.
ERIC & ERIC Digests
This database focuses on the education literature. The journals indexed in ERIC are typically not free (unless they are in one of the collections found below). The ERIC Digests are free online.
Search for books or journal articles from the National Agricultural Library.
Ejrnls collections that are publicly accessible
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
There are nearly 9,800 open-access journals found through this collection covering a broad range of disciplines.
PMC contains primarily biomedical and life sciences journal literature. All NIH-funded research must now be deposited with PMC so you'll find a great deal of cutting-edge literature as well as older materials.
HighWire Press (Free Journals)
Research societies often use Highwire Press for their platform and make their resources freely available after a certain period of time. Unfortunately, there is no standard as to what is free and when it becomes free so it is a little hit or miss. But it doesn't hurt to try!
HINARI Program for Developing Countries
The World Health Organization has set up a program called HINARI for researchers in developing countries that are at national universities, professional schools (medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, dentistry), research institutes, teaching hospitals and healthcare centers, government offices and national medical libraries, and local non-governmental organizations. Depending on several factors, access is either free or low-cost.
BioMed Central is a Science, Technology and Medicine (STM) publisher of more than 250 peer-reviewed open access journals. The journals here cover many specialty areas of biology, biomedicine and medicine and include broad interest titles as well. All original research articles published by BioMed Central are freely accessible online upon publication. Other content in a minority of the journals is subscription-based. Articles labelled Open Access are immediately and permanently available online.