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Access to electronic resources for prospective PhD students

by Jenny Coombs on 2020-08-07T15:31:00+01:00 in Resources | 0 Comments

As a prospective PhD student, you may be wish to do some preliminary searching of the literature. These FAQs will help you understand what you can access via DMU and how to find openly accessible material.

Can prospective students get access to DMU electronic resources?

Only registered DMU students are able to access our electronic resources.

E-resources are licensed with the publisher or supplier. This forms a contract that clearly specifies that access is for current registered students at the university. Any contravention of the licence results in a breach of contract with potential penalties applied by the supplier.

Access to e-resources is via the university’s single sign-on authentication system that is created as soon as a student is registered. An account cannot be created prior to registration and indeed this would then contravene the licence we have signed with the supplier.

Why do publishers restrict access to their electronic resources?

The subscription costs of e-resources are significantly reduced for educational institutions. The university pays a subscription based on student numbers. Consequently, only registered students are enabled access.

How can prospective students access electronic resources?

Open Access content

Research in open access format is continually growing and public libraries can also provide access to some electronic content. The section below provides information about relevant services and search tools.

Library Search Open Access Content

DMU’s Library Search Discovery tool is available to search by anyone. This can enable prospective students to at least see the relevant literature in a subject area.

Researchers may not be able to directly access the full-text at this stage, as the default access is to the library’s subscribed content. However, the article details could be copied and pasted into Google Scholar. This search facility may be able to locate an openly available version.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is available for anyone to search. Any research that has been made open access will be available to view in full-text.

Open Access plugins are available that automatically check for free copies of articles you’ve found online, including:

Google Scholar button: If you find a citation for an article (but no link to the full text), you can click on the button to find out whether the article is available anywhere else.

Unpaywall: This looks for articles that are open access or uploaded by the paper's authors. Whenever you come across a paper whose full text is freely available, a green open padlock will open on the side of the web page.

All plugins are available for Google Chrome and for some versions of Firefox. They can be installed from the Chrome Web store and the Add-ons for Firefox page.

University repositories

Academic researchers can upload publisher permitted versions of their research to university repositories. This enables other researchers to view the full-text of the research. These versions are usually the final Microsoft Word version of the research and have been through the peer review process where applicable.

DORA is the repository for DMU

OpenDoar enables you to search across different university repositories

CORE aggregates open research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide

Directory of Open Access journals provides access to open access, peer-reviewed journals

Online research networks

Researchers will often also use online research networks to share versions of their published research where copyright permits.

The key networks are ResearchGate and

Please only use versions that have been uploaded to the site legally.

PhD theses

• Full-text access to theses written by DMU students can be found within the university’s repository DORA

• Full-text access to theses written by other UK students can be found within the British Library’s EThOS service which digitises theses on demand.

Open Access Books

Google books enables you to find full-text access where copyright allows free access. The advanced setting will allow you to refine your search to ebooks only.

Directory of Open Access Books provides links to open-access books.

Further open access resources

Our alumni pages provide links to other open access resources.

Public Library electronic access

Access to research

Access to Research provides free, walk-in access to over 30 million academic articles in participating public libraries across the UK.

British Library online collections

The British Library has a selection of electronic resources that can be accessed online. Select available online in the search bar of the main catalogue and this will only return results that can be viewed online. You do not need to be a member to access these resources.

The British Library  also has some freely available digital collections, covering manuscripts and photographs, sound recordings, business and management portal, and social welfare portal.

How can prospective students access physical material?

Kimberlin Library

External membership is available for our libraries. See the visitor page for more information. Former students and staff (alumni) of the university are eligible for free membership. Both memberships allow access to our physical stock and facilities.

Archives and special collections

DMU Special collections are open to all. It is useful to contact the team in advance to discuss your research needs and your visit. More information is available in our Archives libguide

British Library

Any member of the public can apply to be a Reader at the British Library at St Pancras, London and access collections held at the BL. Check the BL visitor pages for latest information.

How can I find out more?

Contact Library Research Support

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