Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Annex 3

THE HINARI AND AGORA INITIATIVES

(WWW.HEALTHINTERNETWORK.ORG, WWW.AGINTERNETWORK.ORG/EN)

  The HINARI and AGORA programmes are cooperative publisher led programmes to provide access to scientific journals for biomedical and agricultural researchers, clinicians and policy makers in the developing countries.

HINARI

  HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative) was launched by the Director General of the World Health Organisation in London, July 2001. Originally a WHO sponsored partnership comprising six of the leading commercial scientific journal publishers (Blackwell, Elsevier Science, Harcourt International STM Group, Springer Verlag, John Wiley and Wolters Kluwer International Health and Science, together with the British Medical Journal Publishing Group), the programme has been joined by 39 other commercial and learned society publishers since launch. Four of the seven launch companies publish within the UK and six other British publishers have joined the programme since. There are 46 publisher partners currently. Other partners include Yale University, and the National Library of Medicine, Washington DC.

  In their original approach to the publishers, WHO were asking only for access to high level scientific journals for researchers in the developing world. All of the publishers decided to offer their entire biomedical and healthcare content. They also decided at the outset to provide full functionality, not just basic access. The technology behind HINARI is very simple. Qualifying users access the publishers' servers having been authenticated on the WHO server in Geneva.

  In HINARI, many thousands of researchers in more than 1,100 institutions in 101 of the world's poorest countries are now given full access to over 2,200 leading biomedical research and healthcare journals, mostly without any charge. In some of the relatively wealthier countries, nominal access fees are collected. Uniquely, the publishers have decided unanimously to remit all revenues back to the WHO to be used in training the librarians and scientists in the developing world in the use of online scientific information. There is close cooperation between the publishers and the World Health Organisation. Launching the programme in London, 9 July 2001, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Director General of WHO described HINARI as "perhaps the biggest step ever taken in reducing the health information gap between rich and poor countries", while in Washington in December 2002 Kofi Annan said "HINARI is using information technology to narrow the information gap in health science".

AGORA

  Noting the success of the HINARI programme, in 2002 officials of the Food and Agriculture Organisation approached the leading commercial and learned society publishers in agricultural science, with a view to instigating a similar programme in which high quality scientific information could be provided for agricultural scientists in the developing world. From the beginning, the publishers volunteered to provide not only agricultural information, including fishery and forestry, but also environmental, economical and critically, nutritional information as well. AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) was launched in Rome by the Director General of the FAO, in October 2003, with 10 of the leading international agriculture science publishers, six of them publishing in the UK. Other partners include The Rockefeller Foundation, Cornell University and DfID, which has provided funds for the creation of an AGORA specific bibliographical database. AGORA works closely with HINARI, to reduce costs and to maximise efficiency.

  Both programmes are entirely voluntary cooperative partnerships, and both seem to be working very well. The only constraint to their success is inadequate IT infrastructure in many of the beneficiary countries, although there indications that in many of the countries, this is improving. A joint evaluation programme is being developed, to report to the partners by December 2006, when this stage of development will be reviewed. All partners believe that at least for the poorest countries, some kind of free and where appropriate, low cost access to critical healthcare and food information will grow out of these two programmes.

HINARI AND AGORA PUBLISHERS


American Academy for the Advancement of Science
USA

American Academy of Paediatrics
USA
American Association for Cancer Research
USA
American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association
USA
American College of Chest Physicians
USA
American College of Physicians
USA
American Medical Association
USA
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
USA
American Society of Clinical Oncology
USA
American Society of Haematology
USA
Annual Reviews
USA
Arnold
UK
BioMedCentral
UK
BioOne
USA
Blackwell Publishing
UK
BMJ Publishing Group
UK
Botanical Society of America
USA
CABI International
UK
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Canada
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
USA
Cochrane Collaboration
International
Company of Biologists
UK
Duodecim EMB Guidelines
Finland
Elsevier Science
UK, USA, NL
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (American Volume)
USA
Kluwer Academic Journals
Netherlands
Landes Bioscience
USA
Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
USA
Massachusetts Medical Society (NEJM)
USA
Medical Journal of Australia
Australia
Morion
Ukraine
National Academy of Sciences
USA
Nature Publishing Group
UK
Oxford University Press
UK
Portland Press Ltd. (Biochemical Society)
UK
Royal College of Surgeons of England
UK
Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
UK
Royal Society of Medicine Press
UK
Sage
UK
Society for the Study of Reproduction
USA
Springer Verlag
Germany
Swets & Zeitlinger
Netherlands
Taylor & Francis
UK
Thieme Verlag
Germany
University of Chicago Press
USA
John Wiley & Sons
UK, USA





 
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