New Research4Life contest highlights library impact in developing world

Global competition calls for stories that show how collaboration between Research4Life and librarians supports research

As head of the library at Bunda College of Agriculture, Geoffrey F. Salanje provides information in support of more than 20 undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Before 2004, when Bunda's library became the first in Malawi to register for access to AGORA, HINARI and OARE, college students
  and staff relied on paid access to journals or on public search engines such as Google. The former offered a limited selection of research and required annual funding, and the latter were often restricted to incomplete or unreliable publications. The library could also request publications
  from organizations such as, FAO, WHO and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), but the time to both make requests and receive the information was prohibitive. (Photo from Research4Llife's <em><a href='' target='_blank'>Making a Difference</a></em> case-study book)

Update: the deadline for entries has been extended to May 6.

The Research4Life partnership announced today a case study competition to recognize the role of librarians and library staff in building the research capacities of scientists, doctors and policymakers and helping to boost research output within their institutions.

Research4Life is a public-private partnership of over 200 academic publishers, four UN agencies, Yale and Cornell Universitie and the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM). With the support of technology partner Microsoft, the program is providing free or low-cost online access to nearly 30,000 peer-reviewed journals, books and databases to over 6,000 institutions in more than 100 developing countries and territories.

Researchers in participating institutions have access to a similar level of information as their peers in developed countries, enabling them to contribute to the evolving body of global research. The goal is to help attain six of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals by 2015, reducing the scientific knowledge gap between industrialized countries and the developing world.

The contest

Research4Life created this competition "in celebration of the work that librarians do and to facilitate the sharing of best practice." The competition aims to highlight the "dedication and capacity building of those who assist researchers in accessing and using vital information within their institutions."

The contest runs from March 6 through May 6, with online applications accepted through May 6 at 12 am GMT.  Submissions of library case studies will be reviewed by a committee of distinguished international librarians and trainers. The winner will be announced in June and invited as the first user to join the Research4Life Executive Council. The prize includes an all-expenses paid trip to attend the Partners' General Meeting in Rome, Italy in September 2103.

"From information literacy training to building infrastructure and concerted outreach, librarians are critical to building a healthy research culture in the developing world—and they are often the unsung heroes," said Emily Gillingham, Chair of the Executive Council of Research4Life and Director of Library Relations at Wiley, in the press release. "We hope our competition will raise awareness about the essential role played by librarians across the developing world."

The Research4Life Librarian Competition is open to all librarians and library staff whose institution is a registered user of one of the Research4Life programs: Access to Research in Health (HINARI), Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA), Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) and Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI). Eligible countries, areas, and territories are available on the Research4Life website.

Elsevier's contibution

Research4Life website

Elsevier is a founding member of Research4Life and contributes more than 25 percent of the content. ScienceDirect provided over 6 million article downloads in 2012 — a 41 percent increase over 2011. The Elsevier Foundation's Innovative Libraries  in Developing Countries Programprovides additional infrastructure-building, medical library needs assessments, preservation of unique research and training.  In 2013 all four new grants were to boost information literacy to enable use of Research4Life content.

Learn more about access to research

Read about Resaerch4Life and watch videos on Elsevier Connect:

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