Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Online library needs to sharpen up


Investigators from Cayetano Heredia University in Peru argue in a letter to PLoS Medicine (26 June) that online access to the latest results in biomedical research through the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) needs to sharpen up if its aim of providing free "health information for all" is to be upheld.

In the experience of Javier Villafuerte-Galvez and colleagues, HINARI is not providing the degree of access it used to when originally set up, and this is growing worse.

When HINARI was launched by the World Health Organization in 2003, it provided free (or low-cost) access to more than 2,300 major journals, they say, but in April 2007 they could not access any of the top five main journals of major publishers such as the Nature Publishing Group or Elsevier Science Direct.

These publishers produce roughly 57 per cent of the journals that are supposed to be accessible through HINARI, so not only are fewer biomedical journals accessible to people in Peru, say the authors, but the journals with the highest impact are no longer available.

Perhaps because of this deterioration in performance, Villafuerte-Galvez and colleagues say that the number of HINARI users in their institution has more than halved over the past two years.

And the worry is, the authors say, that medical students and researchers in low-income countries need free access to the top biomedical journals to practise evidence-based healthcare and to conduct their research at the front line of global health problems.

Link to full article in PLoS Medicine


We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.