I am accessing this journal from university. So, I assume the university subscribes to this publication/journal (Sciencedirect/Microelectronic Engineering).

But why some papers are free while the others are not?


  1. free

  2. not free

I just want to make sure that my inability to access some papers is not caused by technical issues from my PC/access/internet/etc.

1 Answer 1


Why some papers are free, while others aren't, in the same publication

You can see that one of the papers was published under an open access Creative Commons license (hence freely available to everyone), and the other wasn't. So-called hybrid open-access journals have a system where some of the articles are published under open access conditions, usually in exchange for a publication fee. This appears to be the case for the journal in question. Probably the author paid to have it published as such, possibly mandated by their institution or funding agency, or possibly because they want to support open access.

How to tell if your university has access to a given subscription journal

Usually this is stated quite clearly on the university library website, when looking up specific journals. If the specific journal isn't listed, the university doesn't have access. Even when listed as having online access, there may be restrictions, e.g. online access may only be available for a certain time period, say 1983-2001. This is usually listed quite clearly.

One thing that usually isn't stated clearly, is that you might not have working automatic access, and may need to access the journal through the university website. If that website doesn't clarify things, or you still have problems, I would recommend asking a university librarian. Even if your university doesn't have access to the journal in question, they are often able to source a copy of the article through e.g. an inter-library loan.

  • So,does it mean that: 1. the university does not subscribe into Sciencedirect/Microelectronic Engineering ? 2. I can get access for the free papers because the authors want it to be open access? I just want to make sure that my inability to access some papers is not caused by technical issues from my PC/access/internet/etc. Jan 23, 2019 at 15:30
  • 2
    @Codelearner777 (In reverse order) 2. You (and everyone) have access to the open access papers - that's sort of the point. 1. Your university may or may not have a subscription to the journal in question. Sometimes I find that automatic online access doesn't work, but I can access papers through the university library website's listing of the journal. That site should usually also tell you whether your university has access or not, or what restrictions might exist. E.g. sometimes a university only has online access to papers published in a specific time period. If in doubt, ask a librarian.
    – Anyon
    Jan 23, 2019 at 15:38

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