Case Studies

©FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico

Researchers, policy-makers, clinicians, students and teachers working in developing countries have historically suffered from a lack of access to up-to-date scientific literature, essential for furthering studies, discovering evidence, sharing findings, and informing teaching, practice and public policy. Most university libraries and research organisations in low-income countries do not have the budgets to pay for important peer-reviewed journals, a resource fundamental to the work undertaken in these very institutions. In a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000, researchers and academics in developing countries ranked access to subscription based journals as one of their most pressing problems. In countries with annual incomes of US$1000 and less per person, 56% of institutions surveyed had no current subscriptions to international journals.

In March 2001, representatives from the WHO met with senior staff from six of the largest international scientific publishers to explore ways of closing this critical information gap. At that meeting, a public-private partnership was born which would provide those working within institutions in the world’s poorest countries with this essential access.

Since 2002, four programmes have been closing this information gap, leveraging proven information and communication technologies, and benefiting from the digitization of vast quantities of proprietary scientific literature.

To celebrate Research4Life’s 10th anniversary in 2011, a user experience competition was launched, resulting in stories from all over the world being sent by users, who shared with us how the Research4Life programmes have improved their work, life and community. This book celebrates the stories behind some of these competition entries.



Here are some more examples of how the Research4Life programmes have impacted those working in developing countries.
Dr. Pauline Byakika-Kibwika

HINARI Access to Research in Health

Antiretroviral drugs give HIV/AIDS sufferers a new lease of life in Uganda Improving People’s Lives Uganda, which lies in the Sub-Saharan region in Africa, was one of the hardest hit countries by the HIV/AIDS scourge…

Wilkista Nyaora Moturi

Online Access to Research in the Environment

Improving the lives of marginalized communities – Improving clean water and sanitation to defeat childhood diarrhea Improving People’s Lives Free access to peer-reviewed scientific journals has greatly improved the quality of research and teachings in…

Professor Paul Kimurto

Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture

Unlocking the farming potential of arid and semi-arid lands in Kenya Developing New Crop Technologies In the Koibatek and Bomet districts of Kenya, a new crop technology is being developed jointly by farmers and researchers….

The Oglek tribe on their ancestral homeland

Achieving Sustainable Watersheds

Research4Life’s OARE platform helps researchers in Kenya address local environmental challenges For generations, the Ogiek tribe in Kenya’s Rift Valley has inhabited the Mau Forest in the Njoro River watershed, relying on the river flowing…