Publishers Commit to Bringing Free Access to Scientific Research to Developing World


 Elsevier together with other publishers extends commitment to UN program until 2015

Washington, DC – 10 July, 2007 – Many developing countries lack access to information and training that can help save lives, improve the quality of life, and assist with economic development. To address this disparity, more than 100 STM publishers, including Elsevier, Springer and Blackwell and three UN organizations (WHO, FAO and UNEP) announce today the extension of programs that provide free, or almost free, access to online peer-reviewed journals. Information technology leader Microsoft announced its support of technical assistance to enhance access to online research for scientists, policymakers, and librarians in the developing world.

The three sister programs – HINARI (research on health), AGORA (research on agriculture) and OARE (research in the environment) provide online research access to more than 100 of the world’s poorest countries. All three of the programs have official commitment from the partners until 2015, marking the target for reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

Daviess Menefee, Director of Library Relations for Elsevier remarked, "From the start Elsevier has been involved in developing these programs and recognizes the need to provide scientists, researchers and policymakers in the developing world with the tools necessary to advance their work. We strive to make a difference by providing the highest standards in science research to some of the poorest countries in the world."

In a World Health Organization (WHO) survey conducted in 2000, researchers and academics in developing countries ranked access to subscription based journals as one of their most pressing problems. In countries with per capita income of less than USD $1000 per annum, 56 percent of academic institutions surveyed had no current subscriptions to international journals. These three programs, which are in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals, hope to solve this problem and make research as easily accessible in countries such as Sierra Leone as it is in England and the USA.

Representatives from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and leading science and technology publishers, together with representatives from Cornell and Yale Universities, met today to extend their cooperation to 2015, in line with the UN’s MDGs.

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About HINARI
HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), launched in 2002 under the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO), with technical assistance from Yale University Library, enables developing countries to gain access to one of the world's largest collections of biomedical and health literature. Over 3750 journal titles are now available to health institutions in 107 countries, benefiting many thousands of health workers and researchers.

About AGORA
AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) [www.aginternetwork.org], initiated in 2003 and led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) with support from the Mann Library, Cornell University, together with major publishers, enables developing countries to gain access to an outstanding digital library collection in the fields of food, agriculture, environmental science and related social sciences. AGORA provides a collection of 958 journals to institutions in 107 countries. AGORA is designed to enhance the scholarship of the many thousands of students, faculty and researchers in agriculture and life sciences in the developing world.

About OARE
OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment), an international public-private consortium introduced in 2006 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Yale University Library and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and leading science and technology publishers, enables 70 low income countries to gain free access to over 1,300 scientific journal titles owned and published by over 300 prestigious publishing houses, scholarly societies, and scientific associations. Another 37 countries will be added by 2008.

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 nearly 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 Contact:
Shira Tabachnikoff
Elsevier
Tel: +31 20 485 2736
s.tabachnikoff@elsevier.com