I'm a typical student in a 3rd world country working to pay for college. My monthly tuition is about 300 USD. Internships average pay is 450 USD for 30h/week of work...
As I get to end of my bachelor, i'm required to write a dissertation, and when i start looking for articles and references if found this amazing paper: "QODM: A query-oriented data modeling approach for NoSQL databases" which lines 100% with my thesis. But it costs whooping 33 bucks! for a single source that might turn out to be not useful at all...

Are there alternative sources? (besides piracy, which i'm strongly against but is becoming really tempting right now...)

  • 20
    I skimmed the paper, and suggest not paying 33 USD for it. You may be disappointed after all.
    – xLeitix
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:06
  • 5
    Does your university have a library? That's the place to ask.
    – Cape Code
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:13
  • 2
    Here are some possibilities: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/85623/… Mar 9, 2017 at 19:25
  • 1
    I've never seen a Brazilian refer to Brazil as "3rd world"? Is that really a thing... Mar 9, 2017 at 21:11
  • 4
    Since the authors don't get payed, I wouldn't feel bad about getting papers from sci-hub. Mar 9, 2017 at 22:13

4 Answers 4


Contact the authors of the paper you are interested in; most often, authors will gladly send you a copy.

  • 1
    Would this not violate the copyright transfer agreement that they probably signed with their publisher...?
    – user541686
    Mar 10, 2017 at 4:50
  • 1
    @Mehrdad Sometimes the publishers don't send paper copies to the authors upon publication, but allow the authors to circulate a PDF to a limited number (like 50) of colleagues. So, in this case, even jumping through all the hoops, they might not have reached that quota and are actually allowed to send you a PDF copy of the published version.
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 10, 2017 at 5:49

I see that you're Brazilian like me.

So, you can access "Portal Periódicos Capes", which grant you access to more than 21,000 journal and conferences publications. Btw, all IEEE articles are available there. Just select the "Base" and it will grant you access.

Besides that, most Brazilian universities and educational institutes provide access to even more journal and conference papers for free. If you aren't enrolled to any of those institutions you can go to their library and ask for the paper for free.

  • 5
    Also many schools all over the world have campus-wide subscriptions to various journals. May be worth just talking to the school admins/professors to see if that is the case. Mar 9, 2017 at 19:54

In addition to Mad Jack's answer, here is a bit more extensively what you can do if you are lacking a subscription for a paper that you suspect you will need, roughly in order:

  1. Google the title. Seriously. Many (most?) good papers nowadays are available as a preprint, also in Computer Science. Nowadays I strongly suspect if I can't find a preprint for a paper that the authors are in fact not very proud of it.
  2. Check if the paper is available on Researchgate. I am not a fan of the service, and strongly dislike getting "full text requests" there, but undoubtly many papers are freely available there that you can't get without subscription elsewhere.
  3. Mail the authors. If they don't answer, mail again.
  4. Ask a professor, advisor, or friend with institutional access to download the paper for you. I am not 100% sure about the legality of this, but personally I would not get sleepless nights about sending a paper to a friend via personal e-mail.

Adding to @xLeitix's list (under the admittedly big assumption that you are travelling to a different university).

  1. If your university partakes in the eduroam project, you have access to the local network of universities across the globe if you are physically there. Sometimes access to papers is behind a wall (ATHENS, Shibboleth, etc.), but sometimes access to papers is granted simply by having an IP from this university. This way you may also be able to access papers just like staff/students from that university, even though your home university doesn't pay for access of these journals. (I guess one could say you are a "visiting scholar" in a very loose sense.)
  • 3
    Just pointing out that xLeitix's answer is an extension of MadJack's, and Earthlin's is an extension of xLeitix.
    – user61733
    Mar 10, 2017 at 2:10
  • 1
    This answer is fine on it's own. Edits are intended to clarify existing points, not add entirely new material.
    – eykanal
    Mar 10, 2017 at 14:21

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