How to Find Free Academic Sources

academic sources

If you’re enrolled in a college or university, you likely have access to a few online academic databases you can use for research. As a freelance writer, there are times that you really need an academic quality source, such as a research study, to support claims you write. For instance, if you’re writing a blog post about the benefits of quitting smoking, it might be helpful to link a published research study about how long it takes tobacco to leave the human body. This information might make your article seem more reputable. Use these strategies to find reputable academic sources for your freelance writing.

Academic Sources from Your Local Library

Many local county libraries pay for access to research databases. You might have remote access at home or only at the library. ProQuest and EBSCOHost are fairly common research databases for public libraries to pay for. All you need is your library card.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides easy access to high-quality academic sources using the power of Google. Some of the results are old and it’s not as comprehensive as you’d expect from Google. However, there are many sources to choose from.


PubMed offers great medical sources about current research studies that you can easily link to. Just make sure to mark the filter that says Free Full Text articles, so you can see the entire article, not just a summary.

Project Muse and Project Gutenberg

Some websites aim to make data available for free. Project Muse and Project Gutenberg are my favorites to work with.

Websites of Popular Industry Journals

If you primarily write about how to train dogs, you might want to bookmark popular industry journals about dogs and psychology. Often the websites offer free articles you can use or PDF archives of old editions.

If you’re a freelance writer and need help launching your career, I can help you. If you’re an academic, learn more about my services for academics.