Top 10 Free Academic Resources on the Internet

Top 10 Free Academic Resources on the Internet

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#1. Google Scholar

One academic resource online is Google Scholar, a search engine that allows you to browse through reams of scholarly articles quickly. Its repository includes books, abstracts, court opinions, technical reports, and other scholarly literature from academic publishers, professional societies, universities, and more. You can search Google’s body of scholarly literature, explore related works, locate complete documents, and check citation statistics of published authors in one convenient site. One of the best websites for research papers, Google Scholar’s algorithms attempt to rank articles according to several metrics, including publisher prestige, author reputation, timeliness, and relevance. It tops our list of academic resources and is the first stop for any scholarly research.

#2. Microsoft Academic

With a database of more than 270 million publications on 714,000 topics from 49,000 journals, Microsoft Academic is a free public search engine that links key information from public and private sources and state and local records. This academic online resource uses machine learning, semantic inference, and knowledge discovery to categorize and recommend scholarly articles. A formidable Google Scholar competitor, Microsoft Academic earns respect as one of the best websites for research papers through its advanced search algorithms and broad coverage of topics.

#3. Science.gov

Another notable online academic resource is Science.gov, a search gateway to the United States government’s corpus of technical and theoretical scientific research. With 38 databases from 14 federal agencies and 200 million pages of scientific information, it features powerful sort and filtering options and relevant “Eureka Science News” results. Additionally, you can set topics or authors of interest and receive notifications when new information becomes available. Science.gov also participates in the WorldWideScience global science gateway--a global science search engine with portals to 70 countries.

#4. Wikipedia

Yes, we mean it. Wikipedia may not be an academic online resource you can cite, but it is an excellent launchpad for any research. It has a wealth of valuable information for quickly learning about various complex topics. Be careful not to cite Wikipedia as a source. Instead, follow the on-page citation links to seek potentially reliable sources.

#5. Virtual Learning Resources Center

The Virtual Learning Resource Center, or VirtualLRC.com, indexes thousands of academic resources online for teachers and librarians, primarily targeted at secondary education. It has a dedicated index of 10,000 websites that are consistently maintained and a meta-search engine that provides results from other research portals at university and public libraries. The Virtual Learning Resource Center is especially good for including the full text of magazines, newspapers, and electronic text archives. It is a free resource run by the former state chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians and is one of the best websites for research papers.

#6. YouTube

YouTube isn’t just for entertainment. The educational resources on YouTube are unmatched, including such STEM and STEAM educators as Ted-Ed, CrashCourse, and CPG Grey. One of the best parts of YouTube is that, as a subsidiary of Google, it is extremely good at search. If you search for a question, you will almost always find a video with an educator walking you through how to solve the problem. This includes everything from how to fix a car to how to solve astrophysics questions. When you need a quick solution walkthrough, turn to the academic resource online provided by YouTube.

#7. Coursera

Coursera, a massive open online course provider, founded by two Stanford computer science professors, maintains a list of academic resources. Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer classes, certifications, and degrees. Partnering with more than 200 universities in 29 countries, qualified instructors teach more than 4,000 courses fit for students from many different backgrounds. You may not want to earn a degree on this internationally accredited platform, but it can provide specific help. Suppose you find yourself in a situation where available education resources are insufficient. In that case, Coursera has full-text semantic search of video transcriptions that enable users to jump directly to teaching segments that are specific to a problem or topic.

#8. Unpaywall from OurResearch

OurResearch is a non-profit online academic resource that creates tools and services for librarians and researchers. Unpaywall is a browser extension that finds legally free versions of articles otherwise found behind paywalls. As of 2018, Unpaywall provided free access to more than 20 million articles. The search engine uses machine learning to increase discoverability.

#9. JSTOR

JSTOR, short for Journal Storage, was founded as a digital library in 1995 with digitized versions of back editions of scholarly journals. Today, more than 8,000 institutions use JSTOR in 160 countries. While some of the content is free, many require a subscription commonly provided to students and faculty by their universities. Every researcher should know this essential website for research papers.

#10. Petal

Petal is a cloud-native reference management solution developed for academic research labs, university faculty, graduate researchers, and industry professionals in 2021. This online resource for scholars was designed by MIT graduate researchers and built with the latest web application technology. Petal offers the most intuitive user experience and requires no training to learn. In addition to a built-in PDF viewer with annotation support, full-text search, metadata management, and citation generation, Petal brings unique and powerful automation capabilities like AI suggested tags, named-entity extraction, recognition, and extraction of embedded elements such as figures, tables, and equations, and real-time synchronization for multi-user collaboration.

Ignite your research with Petal!