Free access to ScienceDirect for postdocs between jobs

Popular program returns to give free online access to Elsevier’s books and journals


Participants who did not find a position after the first 6 months can request an extension of their access for a further 6 months. Read about the survey results that prompted this change on Authors Update.

Twitter Chat

If you have any questions or feedback on the program, please join our Postdoc Free Access Twitter Chat on Monday, March 23 (15:00 GMT | 16:00 CET | 10 a.m. EDT). Follow @Inezvkorlaar and @ElsevierConnect and use the hashtag #ECRchat.

A popular program that gives postdoctoral scholars free access to research has been renewed for 2015.

Elsevier's Postdoc Free Access Passport supports young scholars in between jobs or looking for their first postdoctoral position. Qualified applicants are granted six months free access to all our journals and books on ScienceDirect. They can use this access to work on grant applications and research projects.

This program has run every year since November 2012, when it became apparent that due to the economic downturn, many postdoctoral scholars suddenly found themselves without position and any access to research literature, and that this lack of access in turn jeopardized their ability to find a new position. As the international economic situation continues to be challenging for scientists starting their career, and as we continued to receive applications well after the deadline, we have decided to bring back this program for 2015.

Atheesha Singh, PhDDr. Atheesha Singh, a recipient of the 2013 program with a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal in South Africa, used the access to do postdoctoral research in water and health. She wrote:

This free access program had taken away tremendous financial burden of having to actually pay for some really good scientific content. I have read through papers that I would not have gotten the chance to read had it been at a cost. I have learnt a lot and am very grateful for this valuable opportunity. I have already informed my new colleagues about this exciting endeavor.

Also I would like to say that the staff that helped me set up this free access is highly commendable, super helpful and provide quick responses. Thank you ... for allowing me to gain a broader perspective on science and continue Post-Doctoral research in water and health in a new light.

Since taking part in this program, Dr. Singh has found a new position as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Water and Health Research Centre - University of Johannesburg.

How to get the Free Access Passport

To qualify, candidates must complete a form verifying their credentials by June 30, 2015. Once approved, they will receive a personal code allowing access to ScienceDirect.


  • You have become unemployed after 1 July 2014, or have a project ending before 30 June 2015


  • You have received your PhD in the last 5 years.

Applicants should submit a scanned image of a letter from their last academic mentor or advisor that states the position held and the date on which the position ended or will end. For more on the program and an application, visit



Participants who did not find a position after the first 6 months can request an extension of their access for a further 6 months.

What is ScienceDirect?

ScienceDirect is Elsevier' full-text database with almost a quarter of the world's peer-reviewed scientific content. It's home to nearly 2,200 journals, 900 serials and 25,000 book titles. Journals include The Lancet, Cell, Current Biology, Biomaterials, Biological Psychiatry, Social Science & Medicine, Cognition, and Behavioural Brain Research.

Free access for journalists

Credentialed science journalists can get free access to ScienceDirect through a media code. For more information, email the Elsevier Newsroom.


How to get the most out of ScienceDirect

Elsevier's TrainingDesk has created a series of video tutorials for ScienceDirect.


Elsevier Connect Contributors

Manon BurgerAs a Marketing Project Manager, Manon Burger (@ManonBurger) is responsible for services for early career researchers. She started her career in STM publishing at Elsevier in 1999 in various marketing and publishing roles. She moved to a Dutch book publisher in 2005 as a Head of Marketing, exploring new business models and innovative ways of marketing, and returned to Elsevier in 2014. She holds an MA in English Literature and Linguistics from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and an MA(Ed) from the University of Amsterdam.

Gaëlle Hull Gaëlle Hull has been a Marketing Communications Manager at Elsevier since 2006. She initially worked on the engineering portfolios before moving to energy. She took on responsibility for her current portfolio — chemical engineering — in 2010. Since January 2014, Gaëlle has been responsible for promoting the Postdoc Free Access program.

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