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There are still many papers left behind paywalls. It does depend on the field you're in, as reflected by other comments.

I left academia years ago but continue to (try to) do research. Resources like scholar.google.com can often help find a free-to-read version of a paper, which is great. But access to a single key paper can make or break your progress. I've personally dropped many, many hours of work because of this problem - I couldn't reasonably access key literature that I needed.

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