Open Access Helper logo

Open Access Helper for iOS

By Claus Wolf Free

Developer's Description

Open Access Helper will identify > 25 million free scholarly articles from over 50,000 publishers and repositories to help you overcome the paywall imposed by many scholarly publishers, right from your iPhone or iPad. Each Open Access found within the app is a legal and trustworthy copy. Privacy and transparency is important to me, so please read on to learn more.


You'll get the most out of this app, if you use the iOS Action Sheet!

After installing the app, go to Safari, select the Share Icon and swipe all the way to the bottom until you see the option to manage extensions and ensure to enable OA Helper from there and move it to an easy to access location.


The app identifies the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) of an article and queries unpaywall.org and core.ac.uk API for a legal Open Access copy, based on the identified DOI. If one is found, you will get a clear indication, including a preview of the URL where the Open Access is found.

Highlight text on a page and use "share" to send your selected text to core.ac.uk - the worldwide largest Open Access Aggregator. If your text contains a DOI, the app will query unpaywall.org again.

The app itself, will allow you to query core.ac.uk, see results and access Open Access version of documents.

Lastly, for users of institutions with EZproxy remote access, the app can help you reload the current page via the proxy of your institution. Remember to set this up in settings.


I, as the developer of the app, get none of your data. All the app logic happens within your device. Subsequently, I have no metrics to help app development and thus rely on your direct feedback. As I have virtually no metrics, I also have nothing to sell - to me this is a clear privacy win!

Please note, that since version:

2020.1 I offer support for EZProxy. If you use this option all traffic will be sent via your institution's proxy server

2019.12 I offer support for "Similar Articles". Due to the complexity of implementing this feature, it uses code on my web server and the server is setup to cache requests for one week to serve repeat requests fare more quickly.

2019.11 we offer the ability to request an article via "Open Access Button", if you chose to do so, please note the privacy policy of the service provider (OpenAccessButton.org)

1.5 you can elect to share some very basic metrics with me, which will not affect your privacy. You are in full control over whether these are shared or not. The default is on.

You don't need to trust my word for this privacy promise. The code for the app is on GitHub and I invite you to check it out. Visit the Website / Support links to access the app homepage and navigate from there to the Github repository.

If you wonder, how I make money on this, there is an easy answer: I don't. This is my hobby and I am really enjoying it! I am learning a lot with every new version, so that's my reward and if you were to drop me an eMail with a suggestion or two, that would also count as a reward...


I would like to thank the providers of unpaywall.org, core.ac.uk, opencitations.net and openaccessbutton.org for providing awesome services to the scientific community worldwide, without which the app would do very little.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 2020.3


Release June 24, 2020
Date Added June 24, 2020
Version 2020.3

Operating Systems

Operating Systems iOS
Additional Requirements Requires iOS 12.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.


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