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I went to access an academic article and it asked me to pay. Is there any way I can get it for free?

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In general, you should not pay for academic articles for your research. A few things could be going on:

We have access to the article at CCA, you just accessed it by going outside the Libraries' website. You could paste a citation or the article's title into our search engine to try to find it.

Even if CCA doesn't own access to the article, there may be free versions available online. Again, searching for the citation could help you find it. You can also try using the Unpaywall browser extension which tries to link academic articles to free copies.

Finally, if neither of those methods work, you can try to inter-library loan the article. We will reach out to other institutions to try to obtain access to it. Note that this can take some time, typically a couple weeks, so it is not convenient for research that you need right now.