LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more

Over the last year, VincentYu, gwern, myself and others have provided 132 academic papers for the LessWrong community (out of 152 requests, a 87% success rate) through the Free research, editing and articles thread. We originally intended to provide editing, research and general troubleshooting help, but article downloads are by far the most requested service.

If you're doing a LessWrong relevant project we want to help you. If you need help accessing a journal article or academic book chapter, we can get it for you. If you need some research or writing help, we can help there too.

Turnaround times for articles published in the last 20 years or so is usually less than a day. Older articles often take a couple days.

Please make new article requests in the comment section of this thread.

If you would like to help out with finding papers, please monitor this thread for requests. If you want to monitor via RSS like I do, Google Reader will give you the comment feed if you give it the URL for this thread (or use this link directly). 

If you have some special skills you want to volunteer, mention them in the comment section.

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I note, by the way, that /r/scholar is also an excellent place to ask for papers. I've seen (and had) requests I thought near-impossible answered within an hour.

I have a big library of about 5,000 pdf's, with books (including textbooks) and papers in philosophy, psychology, statistics, computer science and a few other areas. The library is about 18 GB in size. If folks here can think of an easy way of sharing this material, I'd be happy to make it publicly available.

I've made a number of updates over the past weeks, so I thought I should write a brief new comment summarizing the material that is now available for download. There are two separate torrent files, both of which contain the entirety of my electronic library, comprising about 4,100 items mostly in pdf format.

One torrent contains all the files uncompressed. You can see the contents of the library and select specific files for downloading. Magnet URI:


The other torrent contains a single, compressed file, which is about 20% smaller in size. Choose this one if you want to download the entire library. Magnet URI:


Is there a way to download individual contents without downloading the whole 15 Gb zip file?

This site is the best for academic papers: http://libgen.org/scimag

Seriously. Look at their list of available journals. They claim to have access to 21M papers.

I have subscriptions to both ACM and IEEE. Just sayin'.

Goode, P. (2002). Connecting with the reservoir. Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Journal, 42(2).

According to Welsh et al. (2002), this paper estimates that "biases such as anchoring and overconfidence contribute to a US$30 billion/year loss in the oil and gas industry."


Unfortunately, the $30 billion/year loss is not explained and no citation is given:

Pivotal to improving recovery will be making better decisions throughout field life. Such decisions can only be based on having accurate and current information, from both wells and facilities. However, today’s experience with such data is a barrier. If gathered at all, data are usually incomplete and often remains unverified and, therefore, unused.

Experts estimate that, as an industry, we waste roughly 25%—or approximately US$30 billion—of our annual upstream expenditures.

Providing timely access to integrated, reliable, verified data, information and knowledge is crucial to the effective decision-making that will ensure optimal exploitation of an asset.

Our poor experience with using large volumes of data in our industry is slowing the uptake of new technology that can offer significant benefits. The barriers grow when we confront changing our established work processes aso that we can move to the necessary level of interdisciplinary integration.

Experts estimate that, as an industry, we waste roughly 25%—or approximately US$30 billion—of our annual upstream expenditures.

One possible attack for a citation is, besides the obvious searches for those two figures or looking for related government reports/statistics, is looking for a McKinsey report on that industry written before then; they're widely read but not always cited, and they have industry-wide views because of their prestige and numerous clients.

PDFs of the following books are available upon request (I will likely send you a link by next business day):

Kahnemann, Slovic, Tversky, eds. (1982) Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases

Howson & Urbach (2006) Scientific Reasoning: The Bayesian Approach 3rd ed.

Thaler & Sunstein (2008) Nudge

Elliott Sober (2008) Evidence and Evolution

Huw Price (1997) Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point

James Stewart (2011) Calculus: Early Transcendentals 7th ed.

Craig & Moreland, eds. (2009) The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology

Jordan Howard Sobel (2009) Logic and Theism

Graham Oppy (2006) Arguing About Gods

Neil A. Manson, ed. (2003) God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science

Madigan et al. (2010) Brock Biology of Microorganisms 13th ed.

For the editing. How could I sign up to help? I don't have the skills in research yet, but I am decent at writing and could help.

Thanks for the offer Michelle! Either 1 - monitor these comments and wait for someone to ask for help (I use RSS to do that) or 2 - I can remember that you offered to help and can let you know when someone offers.

Unfortunately, we've only had a few requests for that kind of help. I might use it in a while, though.

  1. 'Lithium in drinking water and the incidences of crimes, suicides, and arrests related to drug addictions', Schrauzer & Shrestha 1990 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02990271
  2. "The mathematical relationship of drinking water lithium and rainfall to mental hospital admission" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5497853
  3. "Relationship of lithium metabolism to mental hospital admission and homicide" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4648454

I was halfway through writing a post asking for this paper, but remembered to Google first and it turns out gwern already has that covered. Thanks!

(The result of my research: creatine is probably a good nootropic only if you are a vegetarian. This is valuable information, since I am a vegetarian.)

Yeah, I've had difficulty accessing theses as well. My roommate tells me that the reason is that nobody wants to access them because they're almost always just a set of previously published papers (in many fields you publish 3 papers and staple them together for a thesis). This suggests the alternative of finding the papers that make up the thesis. You'll miss out on the introduction by the author, but they may be a lot easier to get a hold of.

That works sometimes, but not usually for the theses I seem to be interested in - for example, the iodine thesis has no preceding papers or else I would've found those first before running into the thesis.

  • I couldn't access the first thesis.

  • Second thesis. Hmm... unfortunately, the author ignored the past two decades of research using the Big Five and relied instead on personality typing.

(I think recent theses from most US institutions are available from the ProQuest database. I don't know any general way to get non-US theses.)

Thanks for the second; there's actually a surprising number of papers using MBTI in online education, it's really annoying. I may have to look into converting MBTI to Big Five if I do a meta-analysis.