Research, development and innovation are key factors in addressing socio-economic challenges. Investing in scientific research and institutions promotes economic growth, product development and global market integration. In fact, there is a strong positive relationship between scientific research and the standard of living. While high-income, developed countries continue to advance in this sector, low-income, developing countries lack the resources to reach this potential. In 2019, nations collectively invested $1.7 trillion into research and development. However, this spending was mostly concentrated in 10 of the world’s wealthiest countries. In economies where citizens struggle to meet basic needs, the government is left with few resources to invest in academia. Research4Life, a program that provides access to academic and peer-reviewed content for developing countries, is helping to solve this problem.
What is Research4Life?
Since it was founded in 2002, Research4Life has been committed to reducing the scientific research gap between high-income and low-income countries by providing access to scholarly journals and books in a variety of fields including health, agriculture, environment and law. So far, Research4Life has helped over 10,000 universities, libraries, research institutes, government offices and hospitals across 120 countries.
The organization is a collective of five programs that specialize in providing scholarly resources across a variety of disciplines:
- Hinari: The Hinari Research for Health program is a partnership between the World Health Organization, Yale University Library and several international publishers that provides access to biomedical and health-related literature. Hinari empowers workers and students to improve the world and public health conditions.
- AGORA: The Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture is run by the Food and Agriculture Organization in partnership with Cornell University and provides access to research in agriculture, fishing, nutrition, veterinary and biological sciences.
- OARE: The Online Access to Research in the Environment combines resources of the United Nations Environment Programme, Yale University and international publishers to provide access to peer-reviewed literature about environmental sustainability and climate studies.
- ARDI: Access to Research for Development and Innovation is an initiative of the World Intellectual Property Organization that provides low-income countries with research from the fields of science and technology that can help with developing solutions to technical problems.
- GOALI: The Global Online Access to Legal Information provides access to legal research with help from the International Labour Organization, Cornell Law School Library and the Law Library at Yale Law School.
A country or territory is eligible to register with Research4Life for free or at a low-cost based on five factors: Total Gross National Income, Gross National Income per capita, its ranking on the Human Development Index, Healthy life Expectancy figures, and whether it is considered a Least Developed Countries by the United Nations.
Today’s knowledge market is incredibly competitive. Access to science-based research and collaboration is a critical component in the development of new products and services that can help to improve living standards in developing countries. Applied research can help create solutions for eradicating poverty in its many forms, decreasing the spread of disease, ending famine and promoting environmental sustainability. Closing the research gap and expanding the reach of science-based knowledge is an important step towards achieving sustained global development and ensuring the inclusivity of developing countries.
– Sylvie Antal