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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. – artificial_moonlet Nov 20 '19 at 9:24
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    Maybe a better question for Superuser? Because it's only a matter of parsing a specific link and redirecting. I also find this 'feature' really annoying. – Herman Toothrot Nov 20 '19 at 10:06
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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.) – Federico Poloni Nov 20 '19 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. – henning -- reinstate Monica Nov 20 '19 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 – henning -- reinstate Monica Nov 20 '19 at 19:52
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when I try to access an article from the publisher's website I get redirected to an online reader (often marketed as an "enhanced pdf" of some sort) instead of a plain old pdf file.

Is the online reader a browser plugin that is reading a pdf? If so, then modify your browser configuration to download the pdf, rather than open it with the plugin.


Is there a way to...automatically rewrite links to point to the "true" pdf file instead?

Yes, as you've mentioned, you could write a Greasemonkey script.

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    No, it is not a browser plugin. It is the website that serves an "active page" rather than a pdf. – Federico Poloni Nov 20 '19 at 11:29
  • @FedericoPoloni enhanced pdf is absolutely misleading then! And this answer doesn't help. – user2768 Nov 20 '19 at 11:30
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    I did not invent the term. Elsevier calls it enhanced reader, Wiley enhanced pdf, and Springer luckily has not caught on yet. – Federico Poloni Nov 20 '19 at 12:18
  • @FedericoPoloni I didn't mean to suggest that you had invented the term, I had assumed a publisher had. I would expect enhanced pdf to be backward compatible with pdf, but that doesn't sound like the case. – user2768 Nov 20 '19 at 12:35

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