Before pursuing any full text, you will screen your results, which you do by reading the title and abstract of each record. Discard any which obviously don’t fit your research question. If in doubt, try to get the full text so that you can make an informed decision.
If you are not using FSTA, which screens all journals included for quality, at this point you will also need to consider if the research was published in a trustworthy, non-predatory source. Learn more about predatory journals and how to identify them.
Once you've determined which articles or other research outputs you need, a first step can be to see if you can find a free and legal copy of an article, Thanks to open access, a growing proportion of academic research is available online for free.
If your organization has an information specialist or librarian, they may have subscriptions to key journals. Check to learn what you have access to and how you can get it. If you are searching IFIS Collections, each record will link straight to a free, open access copy of the article if one is available, or to a purchase option.
Google Scholar will sometimes link you to legal versions of the full text. Search the full title of the item, inside quotation marks, to check if this option works or not. It may lead you to a researcher platform. Find more information about those on the next tab.
To use either platform, you need to register for a free account.
Be aware: sometimes the articles supplied through these platforms are manuscript drafts or pre-prints, which should only be used with caution. They have not been through the peer review process, which almost always results in changes to an article, and sometimes leads to it not being published at all because of problems with the research or the write up.
If you cannot get an article through your library or by locating an open access copy, you can write to the corresponding author to ask them to send you a copy of their article. The information to reach them is part of the article record. It can look like this:
Or it might look like this:
Get full text with Espacenet
Espacenet often leads to full original downloadable patent documents, and also collates patent families, linking together patent applications for the same content filed with patent offices around the world. To find a patent:
Get full text with Google Patents
Sometimes Google Patents results will include a downloadable PDF version of a patent and sometimes only an HTML version.
Go directly to a country’s patent office search
In the rare cases that Espacenet or Google Patents fail to retrieve a patent’s text, try googling the issuing patent office. Translate the page, if necessary, to find how to proceed.
There are various forms of intellectual property (IP) rights which protect assets such as discoveries, inventions, and literary and artistic works, including research. In many cases, IP rights begin automatically when the work is created. The owner of these rights may sell them or issue licences to allow others to make use of an asset. If copyright is infringed, the owner can seek damages or an injunction to prevent further infringements.
Copyright infringement is a serious issue. Check with your librarian or legal department to make sure you are complying with the law in acquiring and using research articles and other material.