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#ICanHazPDF is a hashtag used on Twitter to request access to academic journal articles which are behind paywalls.[1] It began in 2011[2] by scientist Andrea Kuszewski.[3][4] The name is derived from the meme I Can Has Cheezburger?[4]


Users request articles by tweeting an article's title, DOI or other linked information like a publisher's link,[5] their email address, and the hashtag "#ICanHazPDF". Someone who has access to the article might then email it to them. The user then deletes the original tweet.[6] Alternatively, users who do not wish to post their email address in the clear can use direct messaging to exchange contact information with a volunteer who has offered to share the article of interest.

Use and popularity[edit]

The practice amounts to copyright infringement in numerous countries,[6] and so is arguably part of the 'black open access' trend.[7] The majority of requests are for articles published in the last five years, and most users are from English-speaking countries.[1] Requests for biology papers are more common than papers in other fields, despite subscription prices for chemistry, physics, and astronomy being, on average, higher than for biology.[1] Possible reasons for people to use the hashtag include the reluctance of readers to pay for article access and the speed of the process compared to most university interlibrary loans.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Gardner, Carolyn; Caffrey, Gabriel J. "Bypassing Interlibrary Loan Via Twitter: An Exploration of #icanhazpdf Requests" (PDF). ACRL 2015 Conference Proceedings. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 February 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2015 – via E-LIS.
  2. ^ Dunn, Adam G.; Coiera, Enrico; Mandl, Kenneth D. (2014). "Is Biblioleaks Inevitable?". Journal of Medical Internet Research. 16 (4): e112. doi:10.2196/jmir.3331. PMC 4019771. PMID 24755534.
  3. ^ Kuszewski, Andrea (20 January 2011). "OMG, that should be the new "I'm requesting a paper" hashtag!". Twitter. Archived from the original on 17 December 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b Mohdin, Aamna (23 October 2015). "How to Get Free Access to Academic Papers on Twitter". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  5. ^ Swab, Michelle; Romme, Kristen (2015). "2015: #icanhazpdf? User Requests for Medical Literature on Twitter". Medical Library Association Conference 2015. Medical Library Association. Archived from the original on 17 January 2023. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b Wendling, Mark (21 October 2015). "The scientists encouraging online piracy with a secret codeword". BBC News. Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  7. ^ Björk, Bo-Christer (2017). "Gold, green, and black open access". Learned Publishing. 30 (2): 173–175. doi:10.1002/leap.1096. ISSN 1741-4857.

External links[edit]