Research4Life is a public-private partnership between WHO, FAO, UNEP, WIPO, ILO, Cornell and Yale Universities, STM and up to 200 individual publisher partners. Its goal is to reduce the scientific knowledge gap for low and middle-income countries by providing researchers in eligible institutions with free or low-cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed research journals, books and other resources, as well as helping them to develop the skills required to play an equal role in the research communication ecosystem.

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

Launched in 2002, the Hinari (Research for Health) programme is managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with Yale University Library and a group of international publishers. Public institutions in eligible countries have access to thousands of journals (in a wide array of different languages), e-books, and other information resources. The journals can be searched through a special version of PubMed (Medline) and through other article indexes.

AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) was launched in 2003 and is managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with Cornell University and up to 60 publishers. AGORA provides access to thousands of journals, e-books, and other information resources covering agriculture, fisheries, food, nutrition, veterinary science and related biological, environmental and social sciences in public institutions across the world.

OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment), launched in 2006, is managed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with Yale University and a group of international publishers. OARE provides access to thousands of journals, e-books, and other information resources in a wide range of disciplines contributing to our understanding of the natural environment, including environmental toxicology and pollution, zoology, botany, ecology, environmental chemistry, geology, hydrology, oceanography, meteorology, climatology, geography, environmental economics, environmental law and policy, conservation policy and planning, environmental biotechnology, environmental engineering, energy, and many others.

ARDI (Access to Research for Development and Innovation) was launched in 2009 and is coordinated by the World Intellectual Property Organization together with its partners in the publishing industry with the aim to promote the integration of developing and least developed countries into the global knowledge economy, allowing them to more fully realize their creative and innovative potential. By improving access to scholarly literature from diverse fields of science and technology, the ARDI programme is designed to reinforce the knowledge infrastructure in developing and least developed countries and to support researchers in these countries in creating and developing new solutions to technical challenges faced on a local and global level.

GOALI (Research for Global Justice) is the newest programme managed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), providing free or low-cost online access to legal research and training in the developing world. Users can access thousands of peer-reviewed journals and e-books in selected subject areas of law from the world’s leading academic publishers.

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, such as discovery tools and user authentication platforms.

Following reviews of the effectiveness of the Research4Life initiative in 2006 and then again in 2010 (and in spite of continuing ITC challenges faced in the developing countries and some internal technical and communication issues which have now been resolved), the partners recognised the hugely positive impact of the programme and subsequently re-affirmed their long term commitment to the programmes through 2025.

More information

More information about Research4Life, including news, marketing collateral and information about country eligibility can be found here.

Of particular interest are the following documents, which are freely available to download and distribute:

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 of 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 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), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Local country experts who validate that access requests are from legitimate qualifying organisations
  • Dedicated detection of password misuse and effective remedial action
  • A seat around the table at the annual General Partners’ Meeting, and the opportunity to participate in the governance and implementation of Research4Life via its Executive Council and other focused Subcommittees

Partnering with ProQuest has provided a dedicated search facility for the programmes via Summon enabling quick and focused 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.
  • Resources for librarians (in the shape of an “Advocacy Toolkit”) to promote the benefits of access to good quality, authoritative research publications as part of research policy-making and evaluation.

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