Posts Tagged ‘tools’

One Month of Free Access to Around 1,700 Scientific Journals

19th March 2015

If you are a researcher from an emerging region, you can register for the STAR program providing one month of free access to around 1,700 international and regional journals.

T&FThe STAR program provides access to a full range of journal titles by Taylor & Francis, one of our partners committed to increase the dissemination of scientific information to the developing world.

The content provided by STAR  complements the titles that our Research4Life programs – HINARI, AGORA, OARE and ARDI – provide for free or at a low cost to specific subject areas.

starOnce you register to STAR you will receive a voucher (one voucher is granted per recipient per year, and can only be redeemed once) that can be downloaded and activated when needed. Coverage spans Arts and Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Biological and Physical Sciences.

To be eligible for the STAR voucher you must reside in an eligible country. To go directly to the registration page click here.

Taylor & Francis also offers workshops for authors in collaboration with INASP’s AuthorAID. To know more about resources for researchers visit Taylor & Francis online.

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Grey Literature resources

26th February 2015

What is Grey Literature?

Grey literature is defined as ‘that which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers.’[1]   Examples include technical reports from governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental agencies or research groups, working papers from research groups or preprints, thesis/dissertations and conference papers. Here we list some of the most useful tools to find Grey Literature related to science:

This resource is a directory of over 2600 academic open access repositories. The directory is run by the Centre for Research communications (CRC), University of Nottingham. Links to various resources are listed on the Country and Organizations access page.  Also available is a Search Repository Contents page.  These search results include links to the full-text documents.

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE)

BASE is a search engine primarily for academic open access web resources. A resource of over 2600 academic open access repositories, BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library (Germany). Initial search results are organized by relevancy with tools to further refine searches. The search results citations include links to the full-text documents.


Open Grey, a consortium of numerous academic institutions in Europe, is a database of 700,000 grey literature references in Europe plus links to many full-text documents – technical or research reports, doctoral dissertations, conference papers and official publications. Search results are organized by author, organization, discipline, keyword, year and document type with access to the full-text documents.

This is a global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals that, for a keyword search, examines 99 sources. A multilateral partnership, the project was developed and is maintained by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Department of Energy (USA). Search results are organized into papers, multimedia and data sections.   In the Topics section, one of the options is Full Text Articles. Note: search results for this gateway include links to commercially produced material that may be available from the various R4L program portals.

Please open these resources and decide which ones are most useful to your research needs.


[1] Grey Literature Report, New York Academy of Medicine, (accessed 02 January 2015)


About the author

Lenny Rhine

Lenny Rhine

Since 2006, Lenny has been holding training workshops all over the world for the Research4Life programmes with financial support from various organizations, including WHO, ITOCA and in collaboration with the Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association (LWB/MLA). Lenny has held training workshops all over the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South Pacific, as well as English speaking countries in the Americas and Eastern Europe.



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Free Science E-books on the Internet

20th January 2015

Today, Research4Life users can find up to 30,000 science related books available from our platform depending on the publishers’ granting access to countries and institutions.  This material can be expanded with free e-books from several Internet sites. In our recent Research4Life workshops some useful sites were reviewed and discussed . They are useful sources for obtaining background research information, upgrading lecture material and assignments for students.

The following resources include two portals, one gateway, a publisher’s site and one health related portal.  All except one are freely accessible without registration.

Google Books

This search tool contains an extensive list of material from the Google Library Project and Partner Programs.  If in the ‘public domain’, the material can be downloaded.  Otherwise, there is online access through the portal.  Google books has a keyword search key plus several search tools (limit) options.  Search results will include full-text e-books and also chapters/sections of a book on that topic.
Links (citations) can be stored in a personal Google Account.


This is a portal that claims to have over 2,400,000 downloadable e-books (PDFs).  It has a keyword search engine plus a broad subject category listing.  Search listings are limited to 100 titles so precise keyword searches should be used.
Each title entry notes the language of the e-book and MB size.  Due to the size of the full-text books, downloading can be time consuming especially if there is limited bandwidth.

This portal focuses primarily on academic material.  It has a keyword search tool and also a list of broad subject categories.  One of the principal categories is Medicine which is divided into a lengthy list of sub-categories.  Each entry notes the title, language format and many contain a one sentence summary plus the link to the PDF.

National Academy Press

The Academy grants free and downloadable access to all the PDFs of their e-book publications.  Individuals must register for this feature (free).  The initial screen has a key-word search engine plus links to broad categories including Agriculture, Biology and Life Sciences, Energy and Energy Conservation, Food and Nutrition and Health and Medicine.  Each category has a sub-topic list.

NCBI Bookshelf

From the url or by opening the NCBI drop down menu and clicking on Books, access is granted to all the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s publications.  Access is via keyword search or Browse Titles or New Releases.  In the keyword search tool, other access options (limits) include Subjects, Types and Publishers.  Search results contain the PDFs of books, collections, databases, documentations and reports.


About the author

Lenny Rhine

Lenny Rhine

Since 2006, Lenny has been holding training workshops all over the world for the Research4Life programmes with financial support from various organizations, including WHO, ITOCA and in collaboration with the Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association (LWB/MLA). Lenny has held training workshops all over the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South Pacific, as well as English speaking countries in the Americas and Eastern Europe.



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The Mendeley Advisor Program

12th December 2014

In previous posts we have talked about Mendeley, one of the many Research4Life partners. Mendeley is a program to manage and share research papers, and a platform to collaborate and discuss with the research community from all over the world. You can join Mendeley for free and be part of over 160,000 users in Research4Life countries.

If you are already using Mendeley in your institution we would like to invite you to become a Mendeley Advisor. Advisors serve as official Mendeley representatives helping to understand the needs of users, labs or departments.

Here are some of the benefits of joining the Mendeley Advisor program:

Personal benefits:

  • Opportunity to make an impact in researchers lives
  • The program and all involvement is voluntary
  • Member of an exclusive program
  • Connect with other passionate Advisors globally
  • Personal interaction with Community & Product team(s)
  • Access to monthly Advisor Newsletter
  • Mendeley merchandise (T-shirts, pens, stickers, etc.)

Product benefits:

  • Free Mendeley Premium account
  • Access to new features before they’re public
  • Participate in beta testing of new features
  • Invitation to Mendeley Advisor Group (members only)
  • Advisor badge on Mendeley profile

Professional benefits:

  • Recognized credential on email signatures and CVs
  • Invitation(s) to attend and host events

For more information and training check our Reference Management section and the Mendeley/Research4Life group. You can also contact the Community team regarding the Advisor Program at

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Free Digital Tools for Researchers

5th November 2014

Could you imagine doing research without internet? Digital tools have made research practices easier for scientists and librarians. Here we have gathered for you some digital resources to help you conduct research more efficiently and creatively. 

1. Social media

Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media platforms and can be used to share information and network with colleagues. However, they are not a good fit for the academic sector. When it comes to connecting with the academic community, the following two platforms are specifically aimed to network with researchers around the world.

figshareWith Figshare you can connect with other researchers by uploading any file format to be made visualisable in the browser so that your figures, datasets, media, papers, posters, presentations and filesets can be disseminated. You can connect your account with your ORCID and have a unique identifier in the web. Mendeley is another option to connect with colleagues in your field. You can join different groups and share information. Join the Mendeley/Research4Life group to connect with researchers in developing countries. 

2. Reference management

mendeleyReference management tools help scholars to create and manage their lists of references for research projects. Most tools are designed to organize citations into specific formats for the preparation of manuscripts and bibliographies. 

Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. You can create an academic profile, upload papers and publicize your research. 

Zotero is a another free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials.

If you want to learn about how to install and use reference management tools, check our Training Section with different modules that include free-download tutorials for Mendeley and Zotero.

3. Image editing

SumopaintIf you need to edit images online without installing any software you can use SumoPaint. This photo editor and painting application works directly in your browser. You can open and save images from your hard drive or save it to cloud.

A downloadable option to install is GIMP.  It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. you can use it as a simple paint program, or for photo retouching, image renderer, format converter, etc.

4. Writing

write latexFor those familiar with LaTeX, writeLaTeX  is a free service that lets you create, edit and share your scientific ideas online using LaTeX. There’s no software to install, so you can start writing and collaborating instantly. A nice feature is that every project you create has a secret link to send it to your co-authors, and they can review, comment and edit.

5. Visualizing data

Communicating results through images and graphics is crucial when working on a research paper, poster or for a conference presentation. Making use of digital tools for data visualization can make your research easier to understand. 

gifflyWith Gliffy you can create flowcharts, diagrams, technical drawings and more. It works directly in your browser with the option to share your files with colleagues or save them in your cloud or local drive. It is simple and very easy to use. is another alternative for online diagramming but built for speed  and simplicity. It features integration with a variety of collaborative platforms including Google Docs/Apps.

For specific types of graphs with text, try textexture. This interface allows you to visualize any text as a network. The resulting graph can be used to get a quick visual summary of the text you choose.

6. Organization

We all have quick notes, ideas and specific information to organize. As a researcher you can make your workflow more effective by using applications that help you organize your ideas and to-do’s.

A quick and easy online interface is Keep Google. Sticky notes that you can use to make lists and keep your important links and ideas.

trelloTrello is a web-based project management tool where you can organize projects in a dashboard view, containing one or more project-oriented boards. Useful for organized task management, delegation, communication, and collaboration across teams.

workflowyWorkFlowy is another organizational tool to collaborate on large team projects, take notes, write research papers or keep a journal.

Do you use a different digital tool? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

About the author

Natalia Rodriguez

Natalia Rodriguez

Natalia Rodriguez is the Communications Coordinator for Research4Life. She works with different organisations finding innovative ways to communicate science and development.

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