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NUS Libraries: Guide to Accessing Journal Articles



When you write your term papers in university, you cannot pull information out of thin air. Everything you say needs to be substantiated with scientific findings, and most of the time you shouldn’t be citing news reports (that are only reporting the findings of some study); cite the study itself. (Unless, of course, you’re saying something about how these findings have been represented in the media.

How do you find these papers?

NUS subscribes to the following databases and journals:


Sociology Journals: (please browse the other tabs too)

These papers do show up in Google searches as well, but you should use Google Scholar for better results. You will see – however – that many of these articles are not free, and are, in fact, remarkably expensive. A single article can cost over $50, and subscription to these journals or databases go way higher: Factiva costs $399/month, and JSTOR costs even more.

DO NOT PAY FOR THEM YOURSELF, because you actually have access to most of them by virtue of your membership to NUS. As a student of NUS, you have (mostly unrestricted) access to the best and most prominent databases and journals (for Sociology, you have Annual Review of Sociology, Sociological Methods and Research; Gender and Society etc. through databases like SAGE Journals, JSTOR, Project MUSE, Taylor & Francis Group).

Need news articles, but you don’t have a subscription to The Straits Times or other major newspapers? You have LexisNexis and Factiva.

How do you access these journals?

Just use the NUS PROXY BOOKMARKLET. It’s quite magical, really. After four years I’m still impressed at how the click of a button can make the crazy expensive articles become FREE TO YOU.

First, bookmark the NUS bookmarklet that can be found HERE. (Don't bookmark this link yet, click into it and look for the proxy bookmarklet)

If you’re using Firefox, right-click on the link, and click on “Bookmark This Link” OR click and drag it to your bookmarks toolbar (View --> Toolbars --> Bookmark Toolbar). It’s roughly the same on Chrome, to show the bookmarks toolbar go to View --> Always Show Bookmarks Toolbar). I recommend the second option; it makes it really convenient to just click on it when you’re looking to access a particular journal – you just have to click on it, while you’re on the journal tab. Of course, if you’d prefer it be a drop-down list from your browser, that’s cool as well.

Once you have the bookmark, go to the webpage of any (paid) journal article that you'd like to download. When on the tab itself, click on the bookmark. Do not open a new window, just click on it, and wait for the page to refresh.

Once the page loads...

The steps are the same for all other databases and journals. 

You should also add NUS’ library to Google Scholar

On the homepage of Google Scholar, click on SETTINGS

On the settings page, search for National University of Singapore, and add the results that appear.

If you access journal articles through Google Scholar, just click on Find it! @NUS Libraries – and you’ll automatically access it through the NUS proxy without having to click on the proxy bookmarklet. Even if the articles are paid ones, you will be able to access them just by clicking on the Find It! Link. 


This is a story for another day, but generally speaking, you should pick the articles from reputable journals (the higher the impact factor of a journal, the more influential it is), and pay special attention to the ones that were cited by many. 

Let me know if you access problems with any of the above steps! I'll be happy to help :)

Stay tuned for more guides for NUS students! Have a wonderful week.

Tags: Study