Research Output in Developing Countries Reveals 194% Increase in Five Years

Research4Life Demonstrates Profound Impact on Scholarly Landscape

London, 2 July 2009 – The partners of Research4Life announced today that a new research impact analysis has demonstrated a dramatic rise in research output by scientists in the developing world since 2002. By comparing absolute growth in published research before (1996 – 2002) and after (2002 - 2008) the advent of the Research4Life programmes, the analysis has revealed a 194% or 6.4-fold increase in articles published in peer reviewed journals. Research4Life is the collective name given to HINARI, AGORA and OARE, the three public-private partnerships that offer health, agriculture and environmental research for free or at very low cost to developing countries. Key partners include Microsoft, WHO, FAO, UNEP, Cornell and Yale Universities, and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers. Over 108 publishers, among them Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell and Oxford University Press provide the journal content.

The analysis, conducted by Elsevier’s Associate Director of Scientometrics & Market Analysis, Dr Andrew Plume, showed that absolute growth in research between 1996 - 2002 was 25% in non Research4Life countries (countries not eligible due to their GNI per capita), 22% in Band 1 countries (eligible countries with less than $1250 annual per capita income or GNI) and 30% in Band 2 countries (eligible countries with $1251 to $3500 GNI). Five years on, between 2002 - 2008, the same figures are dramatically higher at 67%, 145% and 194% respectively indicating 2.6-, 6.5- and 6.4-fold increases over the 1996-2002 growth. Dr Plume used a database sourced from Thomson Reuters to count the appearance of each country in the author affiliations of indexed journal articles, and then grouped these countries by their Research4Life eligibility.

bar chart

In addition, an in-depth look at three selected Band 1 countries, (Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania) and one Band 2 country (Bulgaria) reveals a remarkable progression of article output from 1996 – 2008. By contrast, the non Research4Life country Japan (for example) showed steady and continuous growth over this period without a sharp change in output over the period analysed.

trends graph 

"The opportunities to conduct original scholarly research without access to the world's published literature are limited. Discoveries build on generations of research done previously," remarked Kimberly Parker, HINARI Program Manager at the WHO, "Research4Life has extended the reach of that scholarly heritage into the developing world, increasing researchers' opportunities to participate in the global research community by conducting groundbreaking research, collaborating with global colleagues, and in time contributing to evidence-based scientific policy in their own countries. We are very excited to see the growing output coming from the developing world."
Dr Andrew Plume noted, “The massive and sustained growth in scholarly output from the Research4Life countries, over and above the growth for the rest of the world, is probably the result of many related factors such as scientific policy, government and private research funding, and other global developments. However, such a dramatic increase in research output also reflects a clear correlation with the launch of the Research4Life programmes. These statistics point to Research4Life’s profound impact on institutions and individual researchers’ ability to publish.”

"Since we have had access to Research4Life,” states Henrietta Otokunefor, Automation Librarian at the University of Port Harcourt Library in Nigeria, “the researchers, and especially the clinicians at the College of Medicine, University of Port Harcourt, have been able to engage more with the global science community. The library computers and those at the ICTC for faculty are often occupied and I've seen a growth in published research from our students as well. It is great to see that Nigeria has made progress in this area as increased scientific developments can lead to improved health and economics, and in the end, a better quality of life."
The results of the impact analysis are further illustrated by Research4Life’s recent institutional growth findings announced in May 2009. OARE, the Online Access to Research in the Environment program has registered 1500 institutions since its launch in 2006, an increase of nearly 700 percent. The  Health Access to Research programme: HINARI, has grown by 61% since 2006 so that researchers at 3,866 not-for-profit institutions in 108 countries now have access to over 6,300 medical and health journals. AGORA or Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture has increased registrants by 77% since 2006, providing researchers at 1,760 developing world institutions with access to 1,276 food, agriculture, and related social sciences journals.

# # #

Notes to Editors:
A Research4Life reception will be held at the World Conference of Science Journalists on Thursday, July 2 18:30-20:00 at Central Hall Westminster.

About Research4Life
Research4Life is the collective name for three public-private partnerships which seek to help achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by providing the developing world with access to critical scientific research. Since 2002, the three programmes, Health Access to Research (HINARI), Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) and Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE), have given researchers at more than 5,000 institutions in 108 developing world countries free or low cost access to over 7,000 journals provided by the world’s leading science publishers.

Research4Life is a public-private partnership of the WHO, FAO, UNEP, Cornell and Yale Universities and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers. Together with technology partner Microsoft, the partnership’s goal is to help attain six of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015, reducing the scientific knowledge gap between industrialized countries and the developing world.

For further information please visit www.Research4Life.org or view the Research4Life YouTube channel.


About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence,and ClinicalKey—and publishes over 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media Contacts
Shira Tabachnikoff
+ 31 20 485 2736
s.tabachnikoff@elsevier.com

Kimberly Parker
+41 22 791 4467
parkerk@who.int