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Open Access Social Work Resources: Open Access Resources

Free and open access scholarly resources for social work practitioners during and after their time at Simmons.

What is Open Access (OA)?

Open Access LogoOpen Access refers to journals and scholarly information freely available on the Internet. There are various levels of open access available. For example, material may be made available without copyright or licensing restrictions. Some journal articles are available free to anyone at the time of publication. Publishers of articles resulting from some U.S. government-sponsored research programs, may have the option to restrict access for some months before the article becomes open and posted to the web without restriction. For more complete information and definitions on open access see go to the Library Research Guide on Open Access.

Open Access Finding Tools

Searching for OA Articles

There are a few primary resources to search for open access articles relevant to social work:

  • Google Scholar primarily searches the following: academic publisher websites, Google books, institutional repositories and .edu sites, .gov site
  • oaDOI searches by the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for an open access version of the article. You need the DOI number to search; this is usually available from the article citation. 
  • OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records that represent open access resources worldwide.
  • OAJSE is an e-journal search portal to find articles in open access journals. 

Open Access Social Work & Related Databases

  • BioMed Central Journals
    • BioMed Central is an open access publisher of over 200 free online academic journals specializing in subjects related to science, technology and medicine. Areas of interest to social workers include public health, substance abuse, Alzheimer's research and health care policy.

  • ERIC
    • ERIC is a federally supported database of education-related articles
  • Directory of Open Access Journals
    • From the website: "DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals."
  • National Academies Press
    • All books published by the National Academies Press can be downloaded as PDFs for free by registering for a free account. Browse topics like aging, children, youth & families, policy, reviews and evaluations, population and fertility studies, women and minorities.  
  • OpenCongress.Org
  • Open CRS - Congressional Research Service Reports
  • OpenDOAR - Directory of Open Access Repositories
  • PsycArXiv 
    • PsycArXiv is also a disciplinary repository. PsycArXiv includes clinical psychology, developmental psychology and other related areas. 
  • Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    • "The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource." PLoS journals are concentrated in the areas of biology, medicine and genetics but health policy, mental health, public health and other health areas may be of importance to some social work researchers.
    • Search open access journals, conference proceedings, academic repositories and recent (since 2014) monograph series. 
  • SocArXiv
    • Open archive of the social sciences, provides a free, non-profit, open access platform for social scientists to upload working papers, preprints, and published papers, with the option to link data and code.
  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
    • This site acts as a repository for scholars in social sciences fields to share their research. Authors may upload and share their papers for no charge and papers are free or very low cost to download. 
    • Search  within over 160 peer-reviewed open access journals and some open access books. Most journals are in the medicine and science but there are some articles covering the social sciences. 
  • Taylor & Francis - Health & Social Care Open Access Research