Free Educational and Scholarly Resources for Grad Students and Other Humans

How’s everyone holding up out there? 

One of the positive things to come out of this crisis is the number of online resources that have suddenly been made freely available to the general public. While it remains to be seen whether this period of forced working from home will have any sort of lasting effect on publishers and other entities in terms of making their materials open access, at least for the time being we can take advantage of what is available to us. This is especially handy if you happen to have been wondering how to get hold of a certain textbook, article, or resource that you’d normally be able to access in person (or not at all). 

For this week’s blog post I wanted to share a roundup of links to some resources that might prove essential for your research–or at least helpful as you attempt to keep yourself or your family occupied during the quarantine. 

One amazing resource is Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library. You may already be familiar with their Wayback Machine, where you can search the history of billions of web pages. Well, now they’ve gone and suspended the waitlist to 1.4 million books “that support emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed.” The Internet Archive intends to keep this up through June 30, or the end of the crisis, whichever comes later. 

(Fun fact: this move has actually engendered a huge response within the scholarly and publishing communities. You can read Internet Archive’s response to the fallout at their blog, which is fun to follow anyway.) 

Emerald Insight has made a number of social science articles relevant to the current crisis free to access, including Investigating Different Options in Course Delivery–Traditional vs. Online: Is There Another Option?, The Disruptive Power of Online Education: Challenges, Opportunities, Responses, and Navigating the Future of Learning: The Role of Smart Technologies. Their list of free articles on education under isolation and other pandemic-related topics can be found here

Sage Publishing has provided links to many resources to support online learning. In particular, you can find thousands of pedagogical videos covering many disciplines, including education; media, communication and cultural studies; counseling and psychotherapy; business and management; politics and international relations; psychology; sociology; and criminology and criminal justice.

MIT Press has launched a new virtual book talk series called MIT Press Live! According to MIT Press, “these online events will feature leading researchers and experts from around the globe discussing the important and timely topics we all need to know more about.” The first event was a calming, mathematical coloring workshop (I can’t believe I just used “calming” and “mathematical” in the same sentence), and the next event (coming up on April 7) is a virtual conversation with Jonathan Haber, author of the book Critical Thinking. It’s suitable for ages 14 and up. 

The University of California Press is making all of its online journal content free to everyone until June 2020. You can find their full list of journals here.

UNC Charlotte affiliates also have access to VitalSource Free Ebooks, which will be free until the end of the semester. If you are in need of a certain textbook, you may be able to find it through their textbook finder tool is currently providing free access to 300 million pages of newspaper in their collection. Just follow the UNC Charlotte link to start searching.

But you might be wondering about resources other than scientific databases and scholarly journal access. Within the past couple of weeks a number of amazing things worth sharing have landed in my inbox, so here are a few:

If you have little ones at home, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History has a lot of free digital resources, including educational printables for coloring and access to live nature webcams. Actually, a lot of museums now offer free resources. After checking out the Peabody’s website, I went over to the NC Museum of Art and discovered all sorts of things for families with cabin fever, so try paying a virtual visit to your favorite museum if you’ve run out of things to do. And just in case you missed it, you have to check out Google Arts and Culture’s amazing Museum Views, where you can tour museums all over the world and read about the artwork you find. 

I think these are usually free anyway, but until the other day I never knew about Scientific American’s podcasts. They have a number of recent episodes about Covid-19, but if you want something a little less heavy you can also listen to a podcast about flat-earthers, or one of their short-format episodes on topics like what ocean plastic smells like to sea turtles (delicious) or what coyotes eat (everything). 

If you live in the Charlotte area, even though the public library is closed until further notice, you can get a virtual library card and check out ebooks. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library also provides access to a lot of great resources you might not know about, including the NY Times, NoveList Plus (for when you have no idea what to read),, Films on Demand,, tax help, information for veterans, legal forms, and many resources for kids. 

There are suddenly so many free resources of all sorts out there now–free memberships to fitness sites and trial memberships to all sorts of services, free newspaper articles, even free internet. Have you discovered any that you’d like to share? If so, please leave a comment for us!

Dr. Aura Young

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