With a little help from my friends – Scientists tool up via Facebook

Do you want to read an article from a journal that you don’t subscribe? Your University’s library does not give you institutional access to the journals you need?

IMG_2506It seems that you need a little help from your friends… at facebook! There is a well-kept gem of social networking that you will find worth discovering: a facebook group that can send you the papers you have asked for, right to your email, in as little as a few minutes!


There are so many journals out there and most papers do not come in the now fashionable open-access format. So, scientists have to be lucky to work in a University or Institute that subscribes a wide variety of journals and makes those available to their employees. Otherwise, you may be left with the abstracts only, and we all know how abstracts can be VERY different from the actual content of a paper.

Also, you want to see the figures and decide about the results yourself, as well as check the methods section to maybe use some of the techniques in your future work. If you can’t access the full version of that paper you really need, don’t feel desperate because there is a very simple way to get the article delivered to your email in minutes or hours. It’s not illegal, don’t worry, it’s based on sharing resources with your friends, which, I believe we all agree, it’s how science should work. The Facebook group is called “Bájame este paper por fa !!” (yes, in Spanish/Castilian, which means something like “download this paper for me plea”) and although it is a closed group, you will have no difficulty in joining once you ask for permission. Being part of the group means that you can start asking for – and getting – papers.

IMG_2512To give you an idea of how this group actually operates, I should start by saying that it has more than 33000 members. So the chances of someone, anyone, among this impressive list of friends, having access to the paper you ask for, is pretty high. Also, the posts are simple and direct, so each person does not take a lot of wall space for himself. Instead, only the link to the paper or the digital object identifier (doi) are required along with a short introductory sentence, something polite like “please can you find this paper for me” or simply “can you help me please”. Also, don’t forget to add your email address, because the paper will be emailed directly to you by your group colleague.

The rules are easy to follow and you should really stick to them because the moderators are usually attentive and they will kick you out in case you don’t comply. For more on the rules, check the box below. Remember that all should be written in Spanish, as this seems to be a South America-based group and most members are Spanish-speakers. If this is a problem for you, I have compiled a list of sentences that you can use and the corresponding translations, check the boxes below. Anyway, you don’t have to be proficient in Spanish to be able to interact with the other group members, just stick to the simplest phrasing possible and you’ll be fine. In the end, “gracias” is always a good way to finish your request. All you have to do then is to wait for your paper of interest to show up in your inbox.

IMG_2333With this Facebook group, scientist can have their lab lives facilitated: no more speculation about what a paper may be about, no more citations base on abstract-content only, no more excuses to be behind the latest literature. All fields of science, from all around the world, can share their resources for free and in a very laid-back way. And because “all for one and one for all” is the motto of this group, members will feel inspired to help others too. In this group, scientists do one of the things that should be one of their main focuses: sharing knowledge!

Hola...alguien me podría ayudar con este paper?
Hello... can anyone help me with this paper?
Por favor, ayuda con estos papers
Please, help with these papers
Hola!! si alguien me puede ayudar por favor
Hello! If anyone could help me please

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