Open Access Helper

Developer: Claus Wolf

Current Version: 2020.5.1

Last Updated: 7 days ago

Download Size: 4.9 MB - Download


Open Access Helper is your perfect Safari research companion for students and researchers alike, helping you access legal Open Access copies of scientific articles, or to access content through your university’s EZproxy (remote access) solution.


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 within Safari. Each Open Access found within the extension is a legal and trustworthy copy. As you hover over the icon indicating the alternative, the version will be disclosed. Unpaywall data will indicate whether you will be taken to a "submitted", "accepted" or “published" version.

Privacy and transparency is important to me, so please read on to learn more.

As a Safari App Extension, the app identifies the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) of an article and queries API, Core Discovery API ( and/or Open Access Button ( for a legal Open Access copy, based on the identified DOI. If one is found, an orange button is added in the top right of the page - click it to access the article. If you are on the Open Access version already, this icon will turn green.

There will be a blue request button, which enables you to send a request to the author via Open Access Button, when no Open Access version was found and the article was published within the last 5 years.

A bronze button lets you look for Open Access recommendations, based on the article's metadata.


If your institution offers remote access through a URL-rewriting proxy, such as EZProxy, you can setup Open Access Helper to reload the current page through the proxy, when clicking on the toolbar icon.

Please remember to setup the proxy prefix, a useful configuration lookup will help you get it done easily. Please let me know, if your configuration is not yet supported.


A badge will show the number a article has been cited. The source of the data is


Highlight text on a page and use the context menu to start an Open Access search at, or with just a click of the mouse (or trackpad).


For users of "Voice Over" an Aria-Live-Region is used to announce the changes on the page, additionally, you can use a keyboard shortcut: ctrl + alt + o to utilize the functions of the app. Accessibility is hard and I would value your feedback on how well this works for you.


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

For users of iOS & macOS there now is an option to sync Bookmarks through iCloud. This happens through your private database and I cannot access these documents.

If you enable CORE Recommender, the request is processed through one of my servers. The request contains some of the article metadata and the DOI, but data is only exchanged when you click the bronze badge.

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,,, and for providing an awesome service to the scientific community worldwide.


Release Notes:

In this "dot update" I fix a bug, which could cause the containing app to crash.

Disponible en français!
Thanks to the generosity of François Renaville of Liege University Open Access Helper is now available in French! I cannot thank him enough for helping out in such a meaningful way!

Privacy Update
I removed all code, which was designed to send anonymous usage data to me. While these values didn't impact your privacy, they didn't help me much either and so I thought it best to stop the practice entirely.