Research4Life: no-fee access to journal articles

Document Delivery Now Available free of copyright fees to registered Research4Life Institutions in the UN’s 48 Least Developed Countries

In 2001 Elsevier became one of the six founding partners of the HINARI programme, a public-private partnership launched by leading medical publishers with the World Health Organisation. The goal was to bridge the digital divide by bringing online access to peer-reviewed biomedical research to researchers and physicians in the world’s least resourced countries.

Thirteen years later, HINARI is just one of four Research4Life programs which offer free or low-cost access to up to 14,500 journals and 30,000 books from 185 publishers to doctors, researchers, librarians and policymakers in more than 7700 institutions across 116 developing countries.

Over time, the Research4Life partnership has found that users from institutions in the UN’s list of Least Developed Countries continue to experience some of the greatest barriers to accessing this content online. Intermittent electricity supply, shortage of computers, and excruciatingly slow and expensive internet connections are just some of the constraints that users have to contend with on a daily basis.

To address this issue, the International Association of STM Publishers (STM) has invited Research4Life publishers to endorse a Statement on Document Delivery for institutions in the 48 United Nations-Designated Least Developed Countries. Participating publishers have agreed to authorize their library customers to provide copies of articles, free of copyright fees, to Research4Life-registered institutions in the 48 Least Developed Countries. So far, 18 publishers (listed at the end of the Statement) have pledged their support, representing nearly 8,000 STM journals.

Through this agreement, librarian customers in developed countries will now be able to offer document delivery services to their colleagues in these least resourced countries without charging the usual publisher copyright fees. STM and the Research4Life publisher partners are very pleased to offer this expanded access opportunity to those who need it most.

For more information about the Research4Life programs, visit For any queries about the STM Statement contact STM’s Director of Outreach Programmes, Richard Gedye at

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