Science in the Developing World Gets a Boost from Summon

Scientists in the developing world who have access to 8,100 peer-reviewed international scientific journals, books, and databases through Research4Life can now search that content using Serials Solutions Summon discovery service. In addition, librarians who work for the ProQuest company will help set up individual Summon sites for each country.

Research4Life is the collective name for three programs‚ Health Access to Research (HINARI), Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA), and Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE). It is run by a partnership of the World Health Organization, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and its Environment Programme; Cornell and Yale Universities; and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers. The purpose of Research4Life is to help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by providing scientists in developing countries with access to publications that they might not be aware of and could not otherwise afford. The organization quotes one researcher, for example, who reveals that before gaining access to the resources, he published an article on veterinary practices and learned from a reader that a drug used in the study had been banned five years prior.

The material, which is provided to 4800 universities, colleges, research institutes, government ministries, non-governmental agencies, and hospitals, was previously searchable by accessing the partners individually‚ HINARI, for example, could be searched using PubMed, and AGORA’s search function allowed users to find journals on a particular subject, after which they had to read individual issues to uncover relevant science. Discovery services, however, create one large index of all of the information in a database and allow it to be searched at once.

This increased access to current, peer reviewed material in developed nations allows scientists there to better document their own research (Research4Life also offers authorship workshops). And the papers they write, with their more current, complete citations, will more easily pass international peer review, so that scientists in industrialized nations will have greater access to developed countries’ academic output. In fact, Research4Life states that between 2002 and 2006 there was a 63% growth in the number of authors from countries served by HINARI published in peer reviewed journals, compared to only a 38% increase in non-HINARI countries‚ a development that makes the body of literature that much richer and more diverse.

Henrietta Verma About Henrietta Verma

Henrietta Verma is Senior Editorial Communications Specialist at NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, Baltimore, and was formerly the reviews editor at Library Journal.


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