Kopernio, Lean Library, Anywhere Access & other “Access Broker” browser extensions – a roundup & update of current state of play | Musings about librarianship

It has been over a year in April 2018 since I had the opportunity to present at two panels in  conferences alongside experts such  as Lisa Hinchliffe, Johan Tilstra (Founder Lean Library), Jason Priem (Cofounder Unpaywall), Ben Kaube (Cofounder Kopernio) on the topic of browser extensions that help users gain quick access to the full text of articles while browsing the web. 

They would typically be installed as a browser extension in the user’s web browser, and would activate when they detected the user was on a page with article details and would typically popup a message with a link to where the article full text was available or offer to download the PDF directly for the user.

These browser extensions can be divided into two main categories. Early on many  of these extensions such as Unpaywall and Open Access Button focused only on discovery of free to read text only

We eventually started to see the rise of browser extensions (many of which were commerical) such as Kopernio and Lean Library, that extended the idea to finding copies available via institutional subscriptions.

Such extensions aimed to help users conveniently get one-click access to the best verson of the article available to them.  This could be very helpful if you didn’t start off your search from a library discovery service or page and was off campus. …”