Research4Life Code of Conduct


Research4Life provides institutions in low-and middle-income countries with online access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content. We aim to improve teaching, research and
policymaking in health, agriculture, the environment and other life, physical and social sciences.

Since 2002, Research4Life has provided researchers at more than 11,000 institutions in over 125 lower- and middle-income countries with free or low-cost online access to up 205,000 leading
journals and books in the fields of health, agriculture, environment, applied sciences and legal information.

We do this in partnership with organizations in the fields of scholarly communications, technology and international development: WHO, FAO, UNEP, WIPO, ILO; Cornell and Yale Universities; the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers and more than 200 international publisher partners. Research4Life is a partnership that functions entirely on the basis
of good will. All partners have come together with the mission of providing a practical and valuable service to universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, government ministries and non
governmental agencies in low and middle-income countries.

Since the inception of Research4Life we have endeavoured to deliver our work with integrity, following the highest standards of behaviour and acting ethically. We want to ensure that all people – librarians, researchers, medical staff, trainers, technicians, or publishing executives – who come into contact with individuals or organisations delivering work for Research4Life experience the
highest level of professionalism.

This Code of Conduct is for everyone involved in delivering the work of Research4Life, at meetings, trainings, conferences, and in the exchange of information. It helps all partners to understand and comply with the guidance on behaviour that is expected of them in the areas of:

  • Integrity
  • Professionalism and accountability
  • Respect, equality, diversity
  • Avoidance of conflicts of interest and corruption

This Code of Conduct applies to all those conducting work for Research4Life and is intended to act as guidance alongside employers’ codes of conduct.

Key definitions

Harassment is any behaviour that is directed at another person and has the effect of offending, humiliating or intimidating that person; and the person engaging in the behaviour knows or
reasonably ought to know would offend humiliate or intimate that other person.

Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and any form of sexual violence.

“Abuse of authority” is the improper use of a position of influence, power, or authority by an individual towards others. This is particularly serious when the offender uses her or his influence,
power, or authority to negatively influence the engagement conditions (including, but not limited to, appointments or assignments) of other individuals. It may also consist of conduct that creates a
hostile or offensive environment, which includes, but is not limited to, the use of intimidation, threats, blackmail, or coercion.


Everyone involved with the Research4Life programs is committed to the highest standards of integrity and anyone acting on behalf of Research4Life is expected to respect all laws and regulations
of the countries in which it operates. Professional and personal conduct of everyone should be beyond reproach, given the vital work that the programs do.

In addition, stakeholders that are working with, or representing Research 4 Life in a professional capacity via their direct employer are fully expected to maintain the high standards of ethics and
codes of conducts set by their employer.

Data integrity and data protection is guaranteed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation and relevant local laws. All persons acting on behalf of, or representing Research4Life undertake to
maintain these high standards with respect to data integrity and security.

Professionalism, accountability

Every person acting on behalf of Research4Life is responsible for his/her actions and decision and must take responsibility for them. The highest standards of professionalism and honesty are
required to effectively support the vital mission the programs pursue.

The privacy of anyone reporting a breach of any elements of this Code of Conduct will be protected.

Respect, equality, diversity

We promote and maintain a culture of equality and diversity and we treat our colleagues and other stakeholders with dignity and respect, and promote a safe environment free from discrimination,
harassment or victimization.

More specifically, discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religious beliefs, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or any other factor which is irrelevant to the successful and
professional operation of the Research4Life programs, will not be tolerated. Any harassment or intimidation is prohibited. Any claims of discrimination, harassment or victimization are taken very
seriously and are acted upon by the Executive Council of the Research4Life programs and may be reported to the employer and/or law enforcement of the relevant country as appropriate.

Research4Life has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and inaction against it. Research4Life also has zero tolerance towards abusive conduct or harassment in any form.

Research4Life is committed to fostering an environment that respects the inherent dignity of all persons. Research4Life commits to take all appropriate steps to prevent and respond to
discrimination, abuse of authority, and harassment, including sexual harassment (collectively referred to as “abusive conduct”) at its events or in connection with its work.

Research4Life is committed to enabling events at which everyone can participate in an inclusive, respectful and safe environment, and all participants are expected to behave with integrity and
respect towards all participants attending or involved with any Research4Life event. Harassment in any form because of gender, gender expression, gender identity, race, religion or belief, nationality, ethnic or social origin, age, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, language or any other reason is prohibited at Research4Life events or in connection with its work.

Avoidance of conflicts of interest and corruption

Conflicts between the personal interests of persons acting for Research4Life and the programs’ interests are to be avoided. This includes activities that could be seen as harming the programs and
their reputations.

Everyone acting for the Research4Life programs must promptly and fully disclose any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest.

Representative of the Research4Life programs may only accept gifts or other favours of an appropriate value (up to an equivalent of USD 20) and only within existing legal constraints. Gifts or
favours thus received must be transparent and if the intent is to influence business decisions, they must be refused and the incident reported. The same rules exist for the giving of gifts, especially in
the case of gifts for public authorities. Please use [email protected] to report incidents.