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Publishers Commit to Bringing Free Access to Scientific Research to Developing World


Many developing countries lack access to information and training that can help save lives, improve the quality of life, and assist with economic development. To address this disparity, more than 100 STM publishers, including Elsevier, Springer and Blackwell and three UN organizations (WHO, FAO and UNEP) announce today the extension of programs that provide free, or almost free, access to online peer-reviewed journals. Information technology leader Microsoft announced its support of technical assistance to enhance access to online research for scientists, policymakers, and librarians in the developing world.

The three sister programs – HINARI (research on health), AGORA (research on agriculture) and OARE (research in the environment) provide online research access to more than 100 of the world’s poorest countries. All three of the programs have official commitment from the partners until 2015, marking the target for reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

Daviess Menefee, Director of Library Relations for Elsevier remarked, “From the start Elsevier has been involved in developing these programs and recognizes the need to provide scientists, researchers and policymakers in the developing world with the tools necessary to advance their work. We strive to make a difference by providing the highest standards in science research to some of the poorest countries in the world.”

In a World Health Organization (WHO) survey conducted in 2000, researchers and academics in developing countries ranked access to subscription based journals as one of their most pressing problems. In countries with per capita income of less than USD $1000 per annum, 56 percent of academic institutions surveyed had no current subscriptions to international journals. These three programs, which are in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals, hope to solve this problem and make research as easily accessible in countries such as Sierra Leone as it is in England and the USA.

Representatives from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and leading science and technology publishers, together with representatives from Cornell and Yale Universities, met today to extend their cooperation to 2015, in line with the UN’s MDGs.


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