A comment was left on my last post which expressed frustration about not being able to access journal articles "without paying substantial sums." I've been posting a lot recently on the Open Access (OA) movement which seeks to redress this very situation. But since the bulk of scholarly literature does not yet fall under the OA model, what options do researchers have at their disposal right now for retrieving the full-text of academic journal articles?
Here are several suggestions:
1. Visit an academic library to use its journal article databases. Even if you are not a student or faculty member, academic libraries will often let community members or researchers search their subscription databases while on-site. Generally, the only cost involved is for the printouts. Or if a library subscribes to the print version of a journal, you can always make a photocopy. Use WorldCat to locate the nearest library that carries the journal you want to retrieve.
2. Search on the title of the article of interest in Google Scholar. This is Google's scholarly literature search engine. Just below an entry's listing in the search results, there will often be a link to "All x versions," which directs users to the various places online where they can find either a citation to the article or even a PDF. Here is an example of the various "versions" available for an article I wrote back in 2000 that was published in Libri Journal. (Caveat: It's always a good idea to proceed with caution when confronted with unfamiliar URLs! If a web site address looks suspicious, one way to check it out is via Norton's Safe Web search feature.)
3. Contact the author of an article directly. Usually, s/he will be happy to share a copy with you.