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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] Alternately, 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 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]


The practice of requesting articles has sometimes been deemed "piracy".[6] However, broad generalizations about the legality or illegality of using ICanHazPDF are dubious, given that many scientific publishers allow distribution of journal articles in some form, and the policies vary from publisher to publisher.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Gardner, Carolyn Caffrey; Gardner, Gabriel J. "Bypassing Interlibrary Loan Via Twitter: An Exploration of #icanhazpdf Requests" (PDF). ALA. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  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. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  3. ^ Kuszewski, Andrea (20 January 2011). "OMG, that should be the new "I'm requesting a paper" hashtag!". Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b Mohdin, Aamna (23 October 2015). "How to Get Free Access to Academic Papers on Twitter". The Atlantic. 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. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b Wendling, Mike (21 October 2015). "The scientists encouraging online piracy with a secret codeword". BBC. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  7. ^ Jarreau, Paige Brown. "Open Access to Science Communication Research: Your Options". Retrieved 22 October 2015.

External links[edit]