Bridging the Digital Divide at ESOF 2008, Europe’s Largest Interdisciplinary Science Conference

Scientific Panel Examines Developing Country Access to Scientific Research

Geneva, Switzerland, 17 July 2008 – HINARI Access to Research Initiative announced today that on July 19th at 14:30 it will hold a special panel discussion, "Bridging the Digital Divide by 2015: partnering to provide the developing world with critical research” at the 3rd EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF 2008) in Barcelona, Spain. ESOF 2008 will bring together 4000 scientists, researchers and decision makers to discuss the latest trends in science.

The “Digital Divide” panel will include representatives from the WHO, SciDev.net, Senegal, the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers and Elsevier to explore how HINARI, AGORA and OARE, three unique public-private partnerships are working in line with the UN’s millennium goals to provide the developing world with access to critical research.

Over the past five years, 6000 journals with a subscription value of £3m per year have been made available to researchers in 4,000 developing world institutions, via these three programs. A recent impact analysis conducted by Elsevier, has shown that over the five-year period from 2002-2006, 105 HINARI countries saw a 63 percent growth in the number of authors publishing in peer-reviewed journals, compared to 38 percent in 102 non-HINARI countries – indicating that HINARI has had a significant impact on the participant countries’ ability to engage with the global scientific community.

“The Digital Divide session will tackle critical issues such as: how is this successful public-private partnership tackling technical issues such as low bandwidth access or rolling out online training to researchers and librarians unfamiliar with online programs—not to mention garnering full support from local governments in developing countries?” noted David Dickson, panel facilitator and Director of SciDev.Net, a web-based organization that providing news and analysis about science and technology.

Panelist Dr. Mohamed Jalloh, a Urologist and HINARI trainer based in Senegal, remarked, “In medical work, training and research, information is crucial. We need to know what is done elsewhere. Before HINARI, finding information was very difficult. Now my hospital has the data we need in real time—and it solves the problem of training and treating our patients.”

“We want to ensure that countries with the least resources have the opportunity to build their scientific capabilities and networks, and contribute to global scientific knowledge. Our recent analysis demonstrate just how much of an impact these programs can have for doctors, researchers, and librarians in the developing world,” said Daviess Menefee, Director of Library Relations, Elsevier.

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Notes to Editors:
Bridging the Digital Divide by 2015: partnering to provide the developing world with critical research will be held on July 19th, from 14:30 - 16:00 in Room 11 at the ESOF 2008 at the Barcelona Conference Center, Fira de Barcelona. For additional session information, please contact panel organizer, Ylann Schemm, Elsevier, Mobile: +31 (0)6 2398 2359. Y.Schemm@elsevier.com

About HINARI
HINARI Access to Research Initiative provides online access to one of the world's largest collections of biomedical and health literature. Over 5,000 journals are available to health institutions in 108 countries, benefiting many thousands of health workers and researchers. The initiative was launched in 2002 under the leadership of the World Health Organization and with technical assistance from the Yale University Library. For more information, visit www.who.int/hinari.

About AGORA
Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) enables developing countries to gain access to information in the fields of food, agriculture, environmental science and related social sciences. AGORA provides a collection of 1,275 core journals to institutions in 108 countries. Launched in 2003, the initiative is led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with support from the Mann Library, Cornell University and major publishers. For more information, visit www.aginternetwork.org.

About OARE
Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) enables 108 low income countries to gain free access to over 2,000 environmental sciences journals. The initiative was launched in 2006 by the United Nations Environment Program, Yale University Library and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and leading science and technology publishers. For more information, visit www.oaresciences.org.

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:
Kimberly Parker
HINARI Programme Manager
World Health Organization
parkerk@who.int
Phone: +41 22 791 4467