Research4Life Infrastructure Review and Landscape Analysis

By Victoria Ficarra, 08/10/19

We are delighted to announce that in the coming months Research Consulting will be conducting a landscape analysis and infrastructure review of Research4Life’s operational effectiveness as part of the programme’s regular evaluation process.

Research4Life works to provide developing countries with free or low-cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content online via its five programmes: Hinari, AGORA, OARE, ARDI and GOALI. Access to scientific and technical information is increasingly recognised as a key enabler of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Research4Life operates as a public-private partnership comprised of publishers, UN entities, University Libraries and technology companies. These include: World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), International Labour Organisation (ILO), Cornell and Yale universities, the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) and up to 155 international publishers.

The review objectives are as follows:

• To understand the external dynamics and recent changes within the research communication ecosystem, including the funding of research in and for the Global South, which may have an impact on the value provided by Research4Life for its stakeholder partners and users;

• To identify the key trends in research communication which are likely to have a bearing on the strategic direction of Research4Life over its next 5-year cycle;

• To assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Research4Life from the perspective of the different partner types, particularly since the last review carried out in 2014/15, and its alignment with their own internal strategic priorities;

• To provide information to the partners which will help them make decisions regarding the longer-term and strategic future of Research4Life, in terms of programme infrastructure, administrative and technical support.

We will use a combination of methods such as desk-based research, interviews and a survey to consolidate the recent trends and challenges within the research communication landscape and consider how these will impact on the Research4Life programme.

Our analysis will be informed by previous work we have undertaken looking into global trends within this landscape. Particularly, our work for the Department for International Development on research capacity strengthening in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa, our work with the British Council on university links for Industry Engagement in East Asia, and our co-authorship of the 2018 STM Report.

We hope that the results of this analysis will facilitate Research4Life in their mission to reduce the knowledge gap between industrialised nations and low-and middle-income countries.