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.
- Download the booklet Research4Life – Making a Difference: Stories from the field.