Whether you seek to acquire new knowledge or add to an existing body of evidence, the scientific method of inquiry is the established pathway. Many students and professionals investigate their problems and present them in common formats taught at university level. Thus, whether it’s a simple class assignment or a more protracted process, you will probably need to sift through several different texts in order to frame the research proposition and acquire insight into the latest findings in your area of inquiry.

Access to journals and research databases and e-libraries has grown thanks to the efforts of academics the world over in addition to improving technology. And while many require a premium for full access, there are still plenty of free research websites and libraries online. At the very least you can immediately get access to a chapter in a book or a research abstract and summary. In addition, some of these sites allow you to contact other researchers, thereby potentially allowing greater collaboration amongst researchers.

Online Libraries

Archive is a project that seeks to build an internet library of websites. It provides free access to millions of websites, audiovisual materials, books & texts, and software programs. Their Open Library provides a variety of resource material ranging from children’s books to science fiction to textbooks.

Digital Public Library of America is an open source library in the US that provides millions of resources for all purposes and all ages.

National Digital Library of India is an open source platform that provides online courses, pedagogical material, books and audiovisual resources for everyone.

Gutenberg Library contains thousands of e-books for download, Kindle versions, or online reading.

World Digital Library is a production of the Library of Congress with support from UNESCO. It is open access and has plenty of different types of stored material such as pictures, audiovisual, books, magazines, news articles, and others. The WDL has also catalogued texts in different languages such as Arabic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese amongst others.

Wiley Online Library provides references and journals for members. Many of these resources are free and open source. Visit the journals section below for more Wiley publications. 

The Online Books Page is a production of the University of Pennsylvania providing access to millions of online publications. 

Hathi Trust Digital Library allows anyone to view texts and download some material. For full use, you must be a member of a partner institution (usually an American university in the US or outside the US). However online reading is permitted.

JSTOR is an accumulation of millions of different types of scholarly material like books and journals. The site allows a limited number of free reads as well as the option of either acquiring a membership or logging in through an institution (i.e. university).

Biodiversity Heritage Library is the world’s largest open access resource on biodiversity literature and archives. Researchers can find an abundance of resources related to biodiversity. 

International Children’s Library is a project by the University of Maryland that seeks to make children texts available to all.

Gallica is an open access library with a large variety. They carry newspapers, literature, textbooks, and art as well as a massive amount of classic productions and historical material. Their resources are available in several languages including English, French, German, and Italian.

Perseus Digital Library is a contribution from Tufts University that focuses primarily on the arts and classic languages.

Predatory Journals and Conferences

Finally, we would like to mention that the presence of predatory journals is a growing problem and so it is important to identify them and to be wary of including their findings in your research as well as publishing in such journals. A predatory journal is one that carries out activities that are considered unethical and where the interest of scientific pursuit and truth are secondary to other values such as self-interest and financial gain. Compromising the quality of research is often the outcome of such practices and the ramifications of such practices are far reaching and detrimental. However, we would like to reiterate that not all research in such journals is poor quality, and sometimes authors find easier access to these journals and because of their high acceptance rates, this allows authors to publish quickly. However, when the review process is compromised, the paper may lose its value because of low credibility of the its findings and conclusions; thus its overall contribution to scientific literature. You may consult these websites for a list of potentially predatory journals and conferences as well as advice on how to identify them:

Open Access Journals and Publications

We ask that as you access these databases to respect the integrity of the research process by recognizing the efforts of others and using common methods of referencing. We hope you will be inspired to share your own research and contribute to improving global access to science.

Oxford Review provides snippets and reviews of research in leadership, coaching, management, and communication. While the site sends out research briefings that cover many topics of interest, there are also podcasts, community and courses that provide more variance to the learning process.

Cochrane Library is a database for health research. It is owned by Cochrane and published by Wiley, containing several databases such as the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, and Cochrane Clinical Answers. The library is also available in the Spanish language.

National Institutes of Health (Research Resources) The largest biomedical research agency in the world and is part of the US government’s department of Health and Health Services.

PubMed This resource publishes biomedical and life science studies with over 33 million citations with some linked to full text from Medline, journals and books.

National Library of Medicine (clinical trials) This database that contains public and privately funded studies conducted globally. Provided by National Library of Medicine

National Library of Medicine This resource is run by the National Institutes of Health and provides resources for researchers, teachers, educational institutions, publishers, and others. Aside from information on research grants and training initiatives, the site provides links to PubMed, MedlinePlus, Open-I, MeSH, ClinicalTrials.gov, and BLAST.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a community curated search engine for open access publications. The database contains over 130 countries, 80 languages, 17 thousand journals, and over 7.5 million articles.

EBSCO is a database of online journals and libraries. They are also the owners of CINAHL which is a specialized directory for literature on nursing, biomedical studies, and allied health. For Arabic journals you can search Almasdar here

Zendy The search engine is dedicated to research and allows you to search for research in physical, biological, health, environmental, social sciences, humanities, and business.

Google Scholar This search engine powered by google is a very comprehensive tool if you are looking for academic research in all fields.

Equator Network Specializing in health research, the search database contains studies from all over the world. It also hosts resources in Spanish, Portuguese, and German.  

Pedro.org : Physiotherapy Evidence Database is the product of Institute for Musculoskeletal Health at the University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District. This database is exclusively dedicated to research in physiotherapy. They also have several publications and newsletter. 

Research gate A widely used platform that gives you free access to an account whereby you can share your research and also gain access to research from the scientific community. By using ResearchGate you can search for others performing similar research and contact them.

Nature provides the latest scientific research in a variety of fields, and there are plenty of journals to visit and read. They provide many open access articles as well as initiatives, career development and you can even choose to study the latest papers from each region. 

BIOMEDCENTRAL is a part of the Springer Nature group and provides many open access options for researchers and authors. It publishes 65 journals in a variety of scientific disciplines.

Wiley Open Access Journals : hundreds of journals and author resources. Allows institutions and authors to present their manuscripts through both paid, free, and hybrid services. A good place to get a general look around. Registration is free.

Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet Digital publishing system for a consortium of Swedish universities that give access to data that can be used for scholarly publication. Contains hundreds of thousands of papers ranging from opinions to research publications. Subjects include science, arts, and humanities. DiVA searches may be undertaken by title, subject, author, date, language, or institution.

MEDKNOW  Publishing house that has been providing publishing services for peer reviewed and online journals for over 25 years. It provides unrestricted online access to peer reviewed articles. Its main focus is medical science and it provides services to 350 medical society journals, in over 40 specialties. It was acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 2011.

MDPI is an open access publisher of 85 high impact journals from Switzerland. It also has 386 peer reviewed articles. Based in Switzerland it has a global network that includes offices all over the world. 

Academia A peer reviewed e-journal that allows you to share your research online for free. Allows you to share your research with others for free. With a free subscription, you will receive personalized search results and notifications in regard to your research interest. With a premium account you have access to more services such as tracking your impact, viewing your mentions, pdf downloads, searching full text articles, and reading paper summaries.

FRONTIERS is an open access publisher and open science platform with over 900 academic disciplines. 

New England Journal of Medicine This is a US medical journal that presents the latest evidence based medical practice. It allows different types of memberships, with some fee access articles with each issue. Over the past few years, they have added other services that includes: NEJM Evidence, NEJM Catalyst, NEJM Journal Watch, NEJM Knowledge+, NEJM Resident 360, NEJM Healer, NEJM (Mandarin), NEJM Library Center, NEJM Career Center. A free account gives you access to many articles, clinical updates and trials, as well as professional development material.

Results | Elsevier® JournalFinderResults | Elsevier® JournalFinder This is Elsevier’s database of journals that provides links to several journals as well as giving basic information such as the type of journal, whether they have open access material, subject area, as well as their distribution, statistics, Citefactor, impact factor, time to decision and time to print.

Science Direct Launched by Elsevier this service allows you to search for peer reviewed journals, books, and chapters. The focus is physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, health sciences, and social science and humanities. 

EMBASE is a research database published by Elsevier that specializes in health sciences.

HINDAWI is an open access publisher of a wide variety of scientific disciplines including health, mathematics, engineering, social sciences and education. The site allows one to search through a database of global journals, while providing descriptive statistics on distribution, readership, and impact.

SCIENCEOPEN is a research and publishing hub that provides services to journals, authors, and libraries. Independent researchers have access to their search engine as well as a whole section for author tools.

Scholar-Practitioner Resources Hub - Research Resources | NAFSA Provides resources for those assisting or supporting international students. Its research resources section provides links and information on online research and journals. 

EU Cordis Community Research and Development Information System is the European Commission’s primary source of results from the projects funded by the EU projects and frameworks. It also produces its own literature that is available in several languages including English, French, Spanish, Polish, German and Italian.

EDP Sciences provides a directory of open access journals and other resources. The field of research is various including natural sciences, health, humanities, physics, and mathematics amongst others. It is available in French and English.

HUNA MAKTABITY is a personal Arabic e-library that contains links to publications on Arabic literature, Arabic history, and Islamic religion. It allows downloads for specific books and other forms of literature. It is only available in Arabic. 

University of Bahrain Journals contains links to journals published at the university that cover a variety of academic fields.

Bentham Science Publishers  has over 130 peer review journals covering pharmaceutical research and development, medical subspecialties, engineering, technology, and social sciences. Many of the journals featured allow authors to publish for free.

Iris Publishers has an open access policy for researchers. Their journals cover specific medical fields like neurology as well as engineering, textiles, and other scientific faculties. They also provide resources for researchers who wish to publish their works. 

EPFL is a Swiss university with an open access resource to scientific publications.