Research4Life Programmes


Research4Life is the collective name for four programmes in which more than 190 publishers provide access to researchers, academics, students, doctors, agriculturalists, economists and other professionals in the developing world. For institutions in most countries listed in the United Nations Least Developed Countries (LDCs) List, or with a Human Development Index (HDI) of less than 0.63, or where the Gross National Income per person is $1600 or less, access is entirely free. For institutions in most countries that do not match at least one of the above criteria and with either a GNI per capita less than $5000 or an HDI at or below 0.67, a small fee is charged. The publishers donate any revenues collected in this way for training and outreach programmes. For full details of eligibility criteria see


In HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), sponsored by the World Health Organization, over 5300institutions in over 100 countries have registered for access to up to 11,400 journals and 18,500 books in biomedical research and healthcare and related subjects.

AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) is sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Some 85 publishers are providing access to up to 3400 journals and 2000 books through 2300 institutions.

In OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment), 2300 institutions have registered for access to up to 4800 journals and 8300 books from some 110 publishers.

ARDI (Access to Research for Development and Innovation) is sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization and is Research4Life’s newest programme. Currently 17 publishers are providing access to around 3000 journals and 7000 books through 100 institutions.

Over 75% of all the journals in the Research4Life programmes are published by publishers who are members of the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), and STM is a major sponsor of Research4Life.

Cornell University's Mann Library (agriculture) and Yale University Library are key partners in the programmes, providing much of the essential backroom and bibliographic infrastructure. Additionally, Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies supports field work in OARE. Research4Life's lead technical partner is Microsoft, which supports many of the systems which make the programmes possible.

HINARI was launched in 2002, AGORA in 2003, OARE in 2006, and ARDI joined Research4Life in 2010. During 2006 two independent reviews, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, looked at how HINARI and AGORA were working, both for the users and for the participating organizations. As a result of these reviews, the publishers, the participating UN organizations, and Yale and Cornell universities decided to continue these programmes in line with the time span of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals, due for implementation by 2015.

HINARI, AGORA and now OARE were reviewed again in 2010, in terms of how the programmes are working for the users, whether they are fulfilling the partners’ expectations, and whether we are beginning to see how effective they might be in helping authors from the developing world have their research published. In spite of continuing ITC challenges faced in the developing countries and some internal technical and communication issues we have started to resolve, the Reviews were very positive and the partners subsequently re-affirmed their long term commitment to the programmes through 2020.

Usage of the content provided under Research4Life continues to grow: in the HINARI programme alone, logins increased by nearly 60% in the two years to the end of 2012.

More information

  • r4l_bookletMaking a Difference
    This 20 page booklet brings together a series of reports from the field in which users demonstrate how access to peer-reviewed scientific research via the Research4Life programmes has transformed their work, life and community.

What do I get from STM? What we do

Research4Life programmes offer the participating publisher a systematic programme of on-site and web based training in discovery and use of your content

Partnership with respected UN agencies – the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Local country experts that validate access requests are from legitimate qualifying organisations

Dedicated detection of password misuse and effective remedial action

We have been enhancing the value of Research4Life by launching programmes:
Enabling you to focus on specific market segments within each qualifying country

Now ARDI offers you access to markets in physical sciences, engineering, and technology, complementing our established biomedical based programmes

Partnering with Microsoft is providing videos for you and stakeholders seeing how their content is bringing benefits to developing country communities


2010’s video provides a vivid demonstration of the value that AGORA access has brought to farming in Burkina Faso

2011's video provides graphic insight into the benefits that the Research4Life training programme brings to its participants.

Our 2012 videos show how Reseach4Life programmes have:-

  • Helped an Ethioian physioterapist find more effective ways to treatr his patients and teach his students


And more benefits of Research4Life:

Collective marketing on your behalf – promotional competitions, outreach to international and local journalists, and regular communication with end-users and libraries to promote awareness of your content.

In 2011 we organised an end-user competition, eliciting feedback on how your content is proving to be invaluable to users - feeding back some of the most impressive entries so that you can demonstrate to editors and sponsoring societies the benefits of your outreach

In 2013 we have launched a new competition which focuses on how collaboration between Research4Life and librarians can engender more effective research in developing countries. The aim is to recognize the role of librarians and library staff in building the research capacities of scientists, doctors and policymakers and in helping to boost research output within their institutions. Subsequently we hope that the documented case studies, which we will write up from the best entries, will form a key tool in our work to encourage and motivate other librarians in Research4Life registered institutions to follow by example and to encourage institutional bosses to create the conditions and allocate the resources that will make this possible.