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Temporary Free E-Resources in Response to COVID-19

The Wellcome Trust affirms its commitment to the principles set out in the 2016 Statement on data sharing in public health emergencies, and will seek to ensure that the World Health Organization (WHO) has rapid access to emerging findings that could aid the global response. A list of journals, funders and researchers who are signatories to this Statement can be found here.

These journals/publishers have agreed to make all of their COVID-19 and coronavirus-related publications, and the available data supporting them, immediately accessible in PubMed Central (PMC) and license it in ways that facilitate reuse.

Freely Available Resources

BioMed Central: part of Springer/Nature, BMC publishes open access journals in science and medicine.

Bookboon: From Accounting, Economics to Language and Poetry, Bookboon is truly a boon for all book lovers. The site also provides access to textbooks written by professors at South African universities.

Coronavirus Research Database (on the Proquest platform): A free health and medical research database for openly available content related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some South African sources are also included.

DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books): collection of peer-reviewed open access ebooks.  

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals): collection of peer-reviewed open access e-journals.

EBSCO COVID-19 Resources site: EBSCO and its partners are making resources freely available and expanding access to e-content to help library staff support their institutions as they focus on online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Google Books: Previews and full-text ebooks. Like googling for information, it is easy to use. Since not all content is free of charge, make sure you change the settings in “Search tools” from “Any books“ to “Free Google eBooks“ and the book paradise is yours.

Harvard Business Publishing Collection (via EBSCO). Available for the first time in a subscription format, the Harvard Business Review Press Collection includes HBR’s complete catalog of 600 e-books. HBR Press is a leading global book publisher and a division of Harvard Business Review Group. This Collection is on trial to UWC users during the lockdown period.

Internet Archive: Ebooks and Texts Archive: contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children’s books, historical texts, and academic books.

Juta Law updates | Juta provides free access to Covid-19 updates: Juta and Company is providing free access to COVID-19 Legislation updates, categorised in an understandable manner so that you are kept up to date on changes as they are made by government, courts and other entities.

Lexis Nexis | Free COVID-19 Webinar & Resource Kit: While the full legal repercussions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are not yet clear, LexisNexis® has compiled several resources to help you navigate this crisis. A three-part webinar was held in March 2020: Managing COVID-19: Critical Legal Issues for U.S. Businesses & Their Counsel, A Free Three-Part Series by LexisNexis & BakerHostetler. Though the webinar series is now over, you can still watch the recordings on-demand. Click below to get started.

LibriVox: Don’t you like to read? how about listening? Librivox is a project to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.

ManyBooks was established in 2004 with the vision to provide an extensive library of books in digital format for free on the Internet. Many of the early eBooks are from the Project Gutenberg archives, which means you will be able to find a lot of classics on the site.

Mason OER Metafinder: provides a real-time, simultaneous search of 21 different sources for open educational resources

McGraw-Hill: COVID-19 Central on AccessMedicine On the 19th of March, McGraw-Hill released the free to use “COVID-19 Central” hosted on AccessMedicine. A subscription to AccessMedicine is not required in order to be able to access this content.

National Emergency Library: This a collection of free e-books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed. Currently there are over 1.4 million digital e-books in this collection.

NCBI Bookshelf: free online access to ebooks and documents in life sciences and healthcare.

The New York Times is providing free access to the most important news and useful guidance on the coronavirus outbreak to help readers understand the pandemic.

OAPEN Library: Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences.

Open Book Publishers: freely-available ebooks and e-textbooks in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Open Textbook Library: 700+ open textbooks

Project Gutenberg. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.

Project Muse: open access e-journals and ebooks from university presses and scholarly societies.

Sabinet Online | Free access to COVID-19 legislative updates: Here is where you will find various Gazettes related to the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 which outline government’s approach to handling this situation from a variety of different fronts.


For further suggestions, see this article (in RegionWeek.com): “Covid-19 Lockdown: Top 10 Best web sites to Download Free Ebooks”.

Other Sources of Support—From Local to Global

Google Sheet of LibGuides related to COVID-19 (thank you to Emily Ford, Portland State University Library, who created this guide)

“What Libraries are Planning re: COVID-19″–crowd-sourced document with a detailed list of what libraries around the world are planning.  Updated frequently.

Vendor Love in the Time of Covid-19–compiled list of newly-opened content from UIPO (University Information Policy Office at Indiana University)

ICOLC Statement on the Global COVID-19 Pandemic and its Impact on Library Services and Resources

Affordable UF: Discover Free and Openly-Available Open Educational Resources (Institution-specific but still applicable to other libraries) .