It has become increasedly more common that when I try to access an article from the publisher's website I get redirected to a sort of online reader instead of a plain old pdf file to download. Elsevier calls it enhanced reader, Wiley enhanced pdf, and Springer luckily has not caught on yet.

I don't like this approach and prefer to download the 'un-enhanced' pdf file to read or save it locally (but I will spare you the soapboxing).

Is there a way to circumvent this system and automatically rewrite links to point to the true pdf file instead? I am thinking to something like a browser extension or a Greasemonkey script, if it exists. If it worked on the websites of the major publishers it would already be a time saver on the long run.

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    How long does it take you right now to find the simple PDF? Might be field-specific, but this is almost never a time-intensive issue for me. (Even on Wiley and Elsevier, I can usually find a "download" or "save" button on the same page). There's also SciHub (shhhhh). And consider xkcd.com/1205.
    – user108403
    Nov 20, 2019 at 9:24
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    @artificial_moonlet It takes me definitely way more than 5 seconds a week, so according to the XKCD comic you mentioned if there is an available extension / script it is worth my time to install it. (Since you mention it, actually, Sci-hub in my opinion has the best un-encumbered interface to access articles. Just a plain search form, and takes you to the pdf immediately.) Nov 20, 2019 at 12:24
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    As a workaround, consider using zotero or a similar reference manager with browser plugin that downloads not only references but also pdf files. Nov 20, 2019 at 19:37
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    Usually you install the program (zotero, mendeley...) and then a browser extension that "talks" to the program. It's just a workaround, however, since you'll have to open then pdf from within the reference manager rather than view it from within the browser. See zotero.org Nov 20, 2019 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


The userscript Publication Auto PDF seems to do the job.

It does not rewrite the pdf link, but downloads the pdf directly when one visits the abstract page, so it saves even one more click.

It works under a browser extension that runs userscripts (Greasemonkey / Tampermonkey / Violentmonkey / Firemonkey).


As a lighter-weight alternative to the "Publication Auto PDF" script linked by Federico Poloni, I've written a couple of very simplistic userscripts that rewrite the links at ScienceDirect and Wiley Interscience.

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