I tweeted this, but a blog post seems more appropriate (screenshots of URLs are unhelpful, tweets aren’t indexed by Google, etc).
The top five journals in economics permit authors to either post the published PDF on their personal website or provide a free-access link to the published article.
- American Economic Review: “Authors are permitted to post published versions of their articles on their personal websites.”
- Econometrica: “Authors receive a pdf copy of the published article which they can make available for non-commerial use.”
- Journal of Political Economy: “Authors may also post their article in its published form on their personal or departmental web.”
- Quarterly Journal of Economics and Review of Economic Studies: “Upon publication, the corresponding author is sent a free-access link to the online version of their paper. This link may be shared with co-authors and interested colleagues, and posted on the author’s personal or institutional webpage.”
Thus, articles in the top five economics journals are accessible to the general public at no fee, provided that the authors of those articles make the effort to share them. Other journals may not be so accessible. A lot of field journals are published by Elsevier, which has less generous sharing policies.