In 2002, Wiley became one of the founder partners of HINARI, a public-private program launched by six leading medical publishers in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Its aim was to bring online access to peer-reviewed biomedical research journals to researchers and physicians in the world’s poorest countries.
Twelve years later, HINARI is just one of four programs in what is now known as the Research4Life initiative, in which users in more than 7700 institutions in 116 developing countries have free or extremely low-cost access to up to 14,500 journals and 30,000 books from some 185 publisher partners.
Users at registered institutions in the UN’s list of Least Developed Countries have completely free access to the Research4Life content, but these countries also experience some of the greatest barriers to accessing the content which Research4Life makes available to them. Intermittent electricity supply, shortage of computers, and excruciatingly slow and expensive internet connections are just some of the constraints that researchers in these countries have to contend with.
So as part of a continuing program to ensure that in environments of unusually severe access constraints as many conceivable information channels as possible are freed up for users, the International Association of STM Publishers (STM) has invited those of its members who are Research4Life participants to sign up to a Statement on Document Delivery to Qualifying Institutions under the Research4Life Program in United Nations-Designated Least Developed Countries. The current signatory publishers (of which Wiley is one) are, in addition to their direct support for Research4Life, authorizing all their current subscribing library customers in the developed world to provide copies of articles, free of copyright fees, to those educational, hospital, and academic institutions in Least Developed Countries that are registered members of the Research4Life programs. So far 17 STM publishers have indicated support for this new statement, representing about 7,800 STM journals.
This statement will be especially relevant for those national libraries like the British Library for whom document delivery is a major area of activity. Such libraries will now be able to supply a significant number of journal articles to researchers in the world’s poorest countries without being obliged to levy the usual publisher copyright fees that would routinely be charged for article supply to their customers in the world’s wealthier markets.
For some examples of how access to research articles via Research4Life has transformed the lives of researchers, physicians, and patients in developing countries, why not take a look at the case studies outlined in the booklet, Making a Difference. For more information about the Research4Life programs, visit the web site at www.research4life.org or contact me directly at email@example.com.