Research4Life is the collective name for four programmes in which more than 200 scientific publishers provide access to researchers, academics, students, doctors, agriculturalists, economists and other professionals in the developing world.

Access is provided entirely free for institutions in countries listed in the United Nations Least Developed Countries (LDCs) List or in countries where:-

  • Gross National Income (GNI) is at or less than US$ 15 billion and Gross National Income per capita (GNIpc) is at or less than US$ 3000 or
  • Total GNI is at or less than US$ 2 billion and GNIpc is at or less than US$ 5000 or
  • Total GNI is at or less than US$ 200 billion and:-
    • Human Development Indicator (HDI) is at or less than 0.60 or
    • (GNIpc) is at or less than US$ 1500

A small fee is charged for institutions in most countries that do not match at least one of the above criteria and where:-

  • Total GNI is at or less than US$ 1.5 billion or
  • Total GNI is at or less than US$ 25 billion and GNIpc is at or less than US$10,000 or
  • GNIpc is at or less than US$ 6000 and Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE) is at or less than 55 or
  • Total GNI is at or less than US$ 300 billion and:
    • HDI is at or less than 0.67 or
    • GNIpc is at or less than US$ 6000

The publishers donate any revenues collected in this way for training and outreach programmes. For full details of eligibility criteria see

Research4Life Programmes

In Hinari (Research for Health), sponsored by the World Health Organization, over 6200 institutions in over 115 countries have registered for access to up to 13,000 journals and 56,000 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 and provides access to up to 8200 journals and 22,000 books to over 3100 institutions.

In OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment), sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme, over 3000 institutions have registered for access to up to 10,000 journals and 22,000 books.

ARDI (Access to Research for Development and Innovation) is sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization and is Research4Life’s newest programme. It currently provides access to around 3000 journals and 7000 books to 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 partners are ProQuest and PortSys who provide 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 2011. 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.

More information

View a presentation giving a brief overview of Research4Life

Making 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.

Unsung Heroes

This 40 page booklet provides a series pf case studies showing how librarians in developing country institutions have played a major role in assisting and empowering faculty, students, doctors, and staff to access and effectively use the vital information available through Research4Life, impacting not just the individuals’ work, but the extended community around them.

Information in Action

Another booklet of case studies giving examples of how both researchers and librarians have overcome hurdles to boost critical leadership support for the information and infrastructural resources needed to improve evidence based health care, agriculture and environmental policies as well as basic research in their countries.

Research4Life Partner Newsletters now available

Research4Life on YouTube

View the R4L YouTube Channel

where you can view many examples of how your content is bringing benefits to developing country communities, including:-

  • a vivid demonstration of the value that AGORA access has brought to farming in Burkina Faso
  • insight into the benefits that the Research4Life training programme brings to its participants.
  • Case studies showing how Reseach4Life programmes have:-
    • Enabled a researcher from Burkina Faso to develop better and more informed scientific writing skills, produce focused research that he can discuss with top researchers worldwide, compete more effectively for research funding, and deliver better teaching programmes.
    • Helped a charity improve the lives of HIV-infected orphans in Zambia
    • Helped an Ethiopian physiotherapist find more effective ways to treat his patients and teach his students

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 who validate that 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 new programmes,
enabling you to focus on specific market segments within each qualifying country:-

  • Hinari – Research for health - Launched 2002
  • AGORA – Research in agriculture - Launched 2003
  • OARE – Research in the environment - Launched 2006
  • ARDI – Research for innovation - Launched 2011
  • GOALI (Global Online Access to Legal Information) - Launches 2018

From 2018 GOALI will offer you access to markets in law schools, government ministries, courts, law libraries, and secretariats of workers and employers’ organizations, complementing our established science, medicine, and technology based programmes.

Partnering with ProQuest has provided a dedicated search facility for the programmes via Summon enabling quick and focussed resource discovery followed by immediate access to the content.

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 ran a competition which focussed on how collaboration between Research4Life and librarians can engender more effective research in developing countries. The aim was 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 the documented case studies 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.
  • To help encourage both librarians and researchers in this “upstream” advocacy, we launched a competition in 2016 which asked them to give us examples of:-
    • How they had successfully lobbied their institutional administrators or government policymakers to make increased funding available for the conducting of research, or to make funding available for acquiring access to critical journals, books, or databases, or to make funding available to improve the quality and quantity of the technological infrastructure and equipment provision in their institution?
    • How they had successfully advocated for a more evidence based local or national government policy based on external research to which had had access or research which they themselves have carried out?

Our subsequently published booklet Information in Action: Celebrating Research Advocacy Champions, showcases the best stories from the competition and provides a series of motivating exemplars for others in the communities we serve.