FAQs

What is Kopernio?

Kopernio is a browser plugin that finds the best available PDF of an academic article while you browse. Behind the scenes Kopernio will search open databases and (where possible) your university's subscriptions to find the best version of the paper for you. The best article PDF is never more than a click away.

How can I support Kopernio?

If you've found Kopernio useful we'd love to hear from you. We're on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also leave us a ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ review in the Chrome Store.

Do I need a university email address?

You can sign up with any email address. However, features requiring library integration only work if you tell us the name of your institution.

I can't find my institution on your list — what should I do?

Please check different variants of your institutions name (e.g. The Chinese University of Hong Kong may be saved as "Chinese University of Hong Kong"). In some cases the English name may be used rather than the local name (e.g. Universidade Federal de São Paulo may be saved as "Federal University of Sao Paulo").

Where does Kopernio get the PDFs from?

Kopernio integrates with library proxies and library authentication systems to retrieve research articles via library subscriptions. If your library is supported, Kopernio will configure this for you automatically. Below is a list of resources Kopernio tries to access and from which PDFs can be retrieved:

  • Publishers (both for subscription as well as OA content) - Kopernio always tries to source the journal article from the original publisher platform first
  • Other sources, e.g. repositories (e.g. institutional repositories), databases (e.g. JSTOR), pre-print servers (e.g. Arxiv), Google Scholar - if we can’t retrieve an original publisher version, Kopernio indexes this range of additional data sources

Kopernio is set-up to prioritise and search for, and return, articles from your library subscriptions. If searching that content does not result in any hits, or if you do not have a library subscription, Kopernio will by default search the following hierarchy of sources: user’s history, open access publishers, and third-party content (e.g. Google Scholar). You may however, configure this hierarchy should you wish to do so.

What do you mean by the “best” PDF version?

Where possible, Kopernio will retrieve the final published version of the journal article. For non open-access articles which are not available via your institutional subscription, Kopernio will try find an alternative version instead. Alternative versions include pre-prints and author manuscripts deposited in institutional repositories.

What do you do with my data?

You can find our "plain English" Data Principles here that set out what data Kopernio collects and why.

Can I use Kopernio off campus?

Yes! Kopernio can provide one-click access to articles both on and off campus! If your library offers a proxy service, Kopernio can connect to it, recognize your entitlements and retrieve PDFs for you when you are off campus (i.e. outside of your institution's IP range). The first time you try to access a PDF off-campus using Kopernio you may see your library's login page and need to authenticate in your usual manner. However, once you've authenticated (you only need to do this once), you can continue to access your library’s subscriptions via one-click from anywhere.

Why do I need to register?

Registration only takes a few seconds and allows us to provide a much better experience including one-click access to journals from your institutional subscriptions. Once you've registered, PDFs you access via Kopernio are stored in the cloud in your personal “Locker” and are automatically sync'd between devices and can easily be shared with colleagues.

What does Kopernio do with my library credentials?

When you authenticate against your library proxy for the first time, your details are stored locally within the Kopernio plugin. This is very similar to how password managers such as LastPass work. To ensure your security, all sensitive details are encrypted using industry standard encryption algorithms. All processing of credentials is done locally and your password is never transmitted to or stored on Kopernio servers.

What about two-factor authentication?

Kopernio is able to support institutions with multi-factor authentication. When you first authenticate against your library you will need to provide your credentials along with any additional authentication factors. Usually your library will not need to provide the additional authentication factors for some time, during which Kopernio will be able to use your usual credentials to authenticate you. Note, for this to work properly for your institution we may need to make sure changes to our configuration, so it might be worth asking your librarian to get in touch with the Kopernio team if you encounter any problems.

What happens if I change or leave my institution?

You can keep using Kopernio, just update your affiliation on your settings page. Your library will likely revoke access to institutional subscriptions at which point you will no longer be able to access subscribed content via Kopernio.

What publishers/platforms do you support?

The Kopernio plugin is activated on a white list of over 20,000 platforms, includings:

  • Open access publishers
  • Paywalled publishers
  • Abstract databases including Pubmed, Scopus and Web of Science.
  • Pre-print servers such as the arXiv
  • Selected institutional and subject repositories

We are constantly adding to this list and are always open to suggestions for new places the Kopernio plugin would be helpful. Drop us an email at [email protected] if you'd like to see Kopernio support on a new site.

Which browsers does Kopernio support?

At the moment we support Chrome, Firefox and Opera, though we are working on extending this to further browsers. You can help us decide which browser to work on next by upvoting your favourite browser:

  1. Upvote Safari 👍
  2. Upvote Edge 👍
  3. Suggest another browser 👍

Why does Kopernio need browser permissions when installed?

Like with any app, browser extensions need your permission in order to work. For your privacy and security, Kopernio asks for the minimum necessary permissions. These are needed in order for Kopernio to figure out your institutional subscriptions, for adding the Kopernio PDF button to the pages while you are browsing and for helping you download PDFs.

Internally, Kopernio uses a white list of web pages to help your browser decide whether or not to activate the Kopernio button, so that Kopernio is only activated when you are on a research platform and not otherwise. We regularly review Kopernio's whitelist and permissions to make sure we're respecting your privacy online and following all security best practices.

How is Kopernio different from OA Button, Unpaywall, etc.?

We support all projects that make OA research easier to find and more accessible, and are happy to see so many initiatives working together on this important problem. In fact, Kopernio makes use of several OA data sources including institutional repositories, pre-print servers such as arXiv and bioRxiv, Unpaywall Data and Pubmed Central.

However, it's also important to recognise that OA content currently makes up only the minority of published research (somewhere between 25 and 40% of articles). In order to get access to the remaining 60-75% of articles, it is necessary to make use of journal subscriptions often provided through universities and other research institutions.

Kopernio makes this uniquely simple by automatically integrating with institutional subscriptions to seamlessly deliver OA and subscribed content behind one button. This way you can always get access to the best article version available to you no matter where you are online, both on- and off-campus.

Manuscripts and pre-prints can be useful alternatives for paywalled articles, but are not guaranteed to contain changes from reviewer comments or post-publication corrections that the publisher's version of record does. This can cause reproducibility problems and so Kopernio goes out of its way to make sure you get the best available article version .

We've also got lots of handy features unique to Kopernio including cloud storage for your papers, article sharing features and integrations with over 20,000 online platforms. We're also the only tool to guarantee one-click access direct to the PDF (no abstract pages, logins, redirects or other hurdles).

The best way to see the difference is it download Kopernio and try for yourself!

If you do not find an answer to your question, feel free to drop us an email at [email protected].