Ukrainian institutions using Research4Life increase almost tenfold

Published: lunes 19th septiembre 2022
Category: Blog

By Emmanuel Come Mugisha

More than 500 organizations in Ukraine have subscribed to Research4Life collections of resources in less than six months for zero-fee access. The cost waiver came in place in March 2022 in response to the war crisis facing Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country.

Marharyta Tsiura stands in front of a desk with a computer at the library, with her arms crossed in front, her head tilted towards the camera. She wears a sleeveless cream and black dress, and has long blonde hair.
Marharyta Tsiura, Head of the Research and Bibliographic Analytics Department at the State Scientific and Technical Library of Ukraine.

Concerned with the consequences of the current conflict on the state of science and education, Research4Life partner publishers granted institutions in Ukraine full access to their available electronic resources of scientific information for the year 2022.

Since then, the number of registered institutions grew 150%, from just 200 to above 500, says Marharyta Tsiura, Head of the Research and Bibliographic Analytics Department at the State Scientific and Technical Library of Ukraine (SSTL), a national operator for providing access to electronic databases. Marharyta says full access has been extremely important to Ukrainians in these difficult times the country is in.

“There are benefits in using Research4Life remote access. It’s crucial in the current situation because many scholars and students are forced to leave their cities and look for safer places, and they do not have access to their campuses.”

Marharyta spoke to us from Germany after she escaped the war in her home country. With support from the Germany National Library, she is able to continue her duties remotely. Her work includes, among other things, providing information support to scientists, ensuring the quality of the data in the library catalogue, building appropriate user reference structures, creating analytical reports and mentoring.

Besides her work, Marharyta finds the situation of exile upsetting and too difficult to speak about. According to the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine, thousands of education professionals and researchers have been forced to relocate from their homes and workplaces to save themselves and their families.

“Obtaining free access through Research4Life platform in March greatly expanded opportunities of Ukrainian scientists to use scientific literature, which is extremely important in the current war situation,” notes Marharyta, confirming that such access to knowledge would come in handy in the recovery process. “Moreover, we would need to be familiar with innovative technology and developments in order to rebuild our country.”

A large room at the library. It has white walls and a long white table with chairs. The library logo is on the wall next to the glass door, and there's a large cabinet with books in it.
The State Scientific and Technical Library of Ukraine (SSTL) is the main academic library of the country. 

Within Research4Life, Ukraine usually falls under Group B countries which are generally required to pay for access to Research4Life resources. In addition to waiving the payment, thirty more Research4Life partner publishers also made their content available in the country for the first time.

It’s time for open science

While Marharyta and fellow researchers now enjoy free and full access to professional peer-reviewed content through the Research4Life platform, restriction and cost of access used to make her feel “isolated”. As the world moves into a new era, however, she puts all her hopes in the open access movement:

“I hope that in the future, the development of open science practices will provide scientists with more opportunities for unrestricted immediate access to the results of scientific research.”

With this kind and amount of access, Marharyta believes researchers in Ukraine will be able to keep up with the frontiers of science and the number of publications will increase. She hopes that the publishers will continue to support Ukraine during and after the war.

“I am sure, that using Research4Life will bring a qualitative impetus to the development of Ukrainian science. The one who owns the information owns the world,” she says.