How Unpaywall is transforming open science
After being kicked out of a hotel conference room where they had participated in a three-day open-science workshop and hackathon, a group of computer scientists simply moved to an adjacent hallway. There, Heather Piwowar, Jason Priem and Cristhian Parra worked all night on software to help academics to illustrate how much of their work was freely available on the Internet. They realized how much time had passed only when they noticed hotel staff starting to prepare for breakfast.
That all-nighter, back in 2011, laid the foundation for Unpaywall. This free service locates open-access articles and presents paywalled papers that have been legally archived and are freely available on other websites to users who might otherwise have hit a paywalled version. Since one part of the technology was released in 2016, it has become indispensable for many researchers. And firms that run established scientific search engines are starting to take advantage of Unpaywall.