PDF importing issues with ScienceDirect

This has been a consistent issue I have had for some time now. Anytime I try to import a reference from any Elsevier journal, I get the reference, but without the pdf. This occurs whether I have proxy support enabled in Paperpile and/or I manually enter the proxy information into the browser address field. My only option is to open the pdf into another browser tab and then attach the pdf to the reference entry using the Paperpile extension.

Is anyone else having this problem? Is there a possibility I have something set-up incorrectly on my end? I don’t have this issue with Zotero.


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This was an on/off issue in the past, but I’ve been having it consistently with ScienceDirect imports for the past several months as well. Same with JSTOR.

Can e.g. try with this open access article and let me know if it works https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1672022917301407 ?

And can you post the URL of an article that does not work?

That one worked.

I just tried some paywalled articles I have access to through my institutional proxy, and they worked too.

However, at least several times over the last week or two, I’ve had to click through to ScienceDirect and hit Download PDF to get the papers. Almost positive I was logged into proxy.

Next time it happens, I’ll try to remember to post the link here.

… However, I just came across another platform I have routine trouble with, Ovid.

Had to click through to get the PDF at this link: https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00007435-201911000-00003. Paperpile wasn’t able to download the file itself.

Maybe it’s worth trying converting or editing it in another app? I can recommend https://pdf.movavi.com/.