Sunday, January 13, 2013

Scientific information at the fingertips of researchers and students in SSA

A participant on the Research4Life training
workshop at Kigali Institute of  Education,
 Rwanda, December 2012
Access to up-to-date, good quality scientific information available in international scientific journals should no longer be a challenge to researchers, lecturers and students in public universities and research organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. Research4Life meets most of their scientific information needs.

Research4Life is a public-private partnership composed of four programmes, namely the HINARI Access to Research in Health programme led by WHO, Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) programme by FAO, Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) programme by UNEP and the Access to Research in Development and Innovation (ARDI) by WIPO. The partnership, whose main goal is to help attain six of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015, reducing the scientific knowledge gap between industrialized countries and the developing world, is composed of UN agencies, Cornell and Yale Universities, the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers, working together with the technology partner, Microsoft.

Considering that most public universities and research organizations in sub-Saharan Africa lack financial resources to subscribe to international scientific journals, ensuring that their researchers and students have easy and unlimited access to resources made available through Research4Life must be a priority. Research4Life provides access to over 17,000 peer reviewed scientific journals, books and databases, worth millions of dollars. Access to these resources is at no direct cost to most public universities and research organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, training (including training-of-trainers) in how to access and use Research4Life resources is in most cases also provided by ITOCA at no direct costs to the beneficiary institutions.

I do not see any justifications for universities and research organizations for not accessing and using Research4Life resources. Afterall, subscription to access the resources is free, access to the resources is free (for most beneficiaries) and training to access the resources is also free for most beneficiaries. In addition, access to the resources is guaranteed through 2020.

For more information contact


Also, check the ITOCA website for the training schedule.

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