Research4Life Code of Conduct


Research4Life aims to reduce the knowledge gap between countries so that researchers, scientists and practitioners in the poorest countries have access to the world’s research in health, agriculture, environment and the applied sciences. With reduced barriers to access primary research, they are thus enabled to strengthen their own capacity to conduct new research and find solutions which help address essential challenges which affect billions of people’s lives.

Research4Life, first launched in 2002, provides institutions with free or low-cost online access to the leading journals and books across five programmes; Research in Health (Hinari), Research in Agriculture (AGORA), Research in the Environment (OARE), Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) and Research for Global Justice (GOALI). Partners include the WHO, FAO, UNEP, WIPO, ILO, Cornell and Yale Universities, the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers and a wide array of international publishers, technology companies and training organisations.

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.


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 Research4Life 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.

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.

How to raise ethical concerns