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Access for patients – and other ways to get Elsevier articles without a subscription

January 22, 2020 | 6 min read

By Tom Reller, Torie Eva, William Gunn

We’re updating our list of free and low-cost article access programs, including patient/caregiver access

Through Elsevier, researchers publish work that can change the world in ways big and small. Scientific breakthroughs, studies on rare diseases, researchers making a difference in their communities(opens in new tab/window) – these can all be found in the journals we publish.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you want to read those papers.

Here, we’ll show you how to even if you don't have access through a university or other institution.

While there are thousands of articles available via open access publishing, where an author or funder covers the publishing costs up-front so readers don’t have to, what we’re looking at here are free or very low-cost access initiatives – where we make subscription articles freely available for various reasons or provide access to our ScienceDirect platform for certain groups of users.

We have a dedicated page for these programs on the Elsevier website and felt it would be helpful to highlight them together here. As we continue to listen to the research community and the public, we are adding more programs, and you’ll always see the updated list at the link above.

Access for patients and caregivers

We want to call attention to the way patients and their caregivers can access information for free. With our Patient Access Program, they can receive medical or healthcare related research papers by emailing [email protected](opens in new tab/window). This email is constantly monitored by our support teams, who aim to provide individual articles at no cost to patients and caregivers within 24 hours. Requesters simply need to include the article title and authors, date published, and/or the DOI or URL if available so we can locate the article as quickly as possible.

We understand that people contending with medical conditions would find it beneficial to access scientific information quickly and easily, and we hope this service provides that support. Please feel free to contact us through the patient access address above with any questions about this program and, of course, any ways we can improve it.

Other free access programs

Other programs where we provide free access to research include:

That’s 15 programs, and we are open to ideas for more. in addition to these programs, there are 731,000 preprints available on SSRN and 3 million on bepress(opens in new tab/window). Our aim is to ensure that our programs make available as much research as possible that is helpful and relevant to the people who need it most.

If you have an idea for a program or know of a population that's currently underserved, please let us know in the comments below.

Learn more about how we’re partnering with organizations worldwide to make information available where it’s needed.


Image of Tom Reller


Tom Reller

Vice President Global Communications and Head of Business Partnerships


Image of Torie Eva


Torie Eva

Vice President of Global Policy


Image of William Gunn


William Gunn

Director of Scholarly Communications