Access to books online during Covid-19

14 Mar, 2020

A number of publishers have made their higher education textbooks free to access during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an unprecedented effect on higher-education institutions across the globe. Many libraries have found they suddenly need to support a new level of distance learning and research – and access to electronic resources is imperative.

To support this urgent need, ProQuest has partnered with more than 75 publishers to support libraries in providing unlimited access to Ebook Central holdings for all patrons – at no extra charge. This means that all licenses – including single-user and three-user models – have automatically converted to unlimited access for that period, helping librarians bridge the gap for their patrons in this rapidly changing environment. The unlimited access also applies to additional titles purchased through mid-June.

Cambridge University Press has also made higher education textbooks free to access in HTML format during the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that over 700 published books will now be available on Cambridge Core to help students and readers across the world during the pandemic. Free access is available until the end of May 2020.

VitalSource and Elsevier Partner to Provide ebook Access to Students

To assist students at disrupted semester-calendar schools who are losing access to course materials due to COVID-19 campus closures, VitalSource has been joined by publishers and partners to offer free access to ebooks to students whose classes have moved online from March 16 through May 25, 2020. Students will be able to access the expansive catalogue of ebooks from participating publishers through the VitalSource Bookshelf app effective immediately.

·       See the announcement

·       FAQs for students and educators (includes list of participating institutions)

·       List of publishers and resellers who are supporting this effort

·       For students who need assistance accessing free ebooks

Elsevier Participates in ‘RedShelf Responds’ COVID-19 Initiative
Under the label of ‘RedShelf Responds’, RedShelf is collaborating with its publishing partners to offer free access to ebooks for the remainder of the semester for currently enrolled students impacted by recent campus closings. Semester-calendar schools of authorized programs will be allowed free access to ebooks from March 16 through May 25, 2020.

·       See the announcement

·       Learn more and access ebooks (contact RedShelf for list of participating institutions)

ProQuest and EBSCO Access

ProQuest Ebook Central and EBSCOHost customers impacted by COVID-19 will get automatic upgrades to unlimited concurrent access (from single user or 3U) to all owned Elsevier titles through mid-June.

In response to the ICOLC Statement (this is rapidly evolving, more to come)

Making any relevant content and data sets about COVID-19, Coronaviruses (regardless of species affected), vaccines, antiviral drugs, etc. currently behind subscription-only paywalls Open Access immediately to facilitate research, guide community public health response, and accelerate the discovery of treatment options.


Allowing the maximum extent of copyright limitations, exception and fair use, even if contractually restricted, to enable institutions to continue their vital teaching missions as campuses transition to an online, remote format.

  • There are special terms of use for the coronavirus articles for PubMed Central.
  • ScienceDirect is an unlimited access platform, there is no restriction on concurrent usage.
  • For Elsevier content on ProQuest Ebook Central and EBSCO host access restrictions have been temporarily lifted to allow for unlimited concurrent usage.

Novel Coronavirus Information Center: Elsevier’s free health and medical research on novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

For more information, visit the TU Dublin, City library website.