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Bridging the ‘Scientific Capital Gap’ With Access

UN Helps Bridge the World’s ‘Scientific Capital Gap’ With More Access to Scholarly Work

New York, Oct 30 2006 2:00PM

Scientists, researchers, and policy makers in 108 developing countries will soon receive access to one of the world’s largest collections of scholarly environmental science journals, thanks to a United Nations-backed on-line initiative launched today.

Access will be provided through more than 1,200 eligible institutions - universities, research institutes, environmental ministries, libraries, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - for free or at nominal cost in countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

The portal, which brings together the work of more than 200 prestigious publishers, societies and associations, is being coordinated by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Yale University, and is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Over 1,000 scholarly scientific and technical journal titles, in fields ranging from biotechnology, botany and climate change to environmental toxicology and pollution, oceanography and zoology, will be provided through a portal - Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) - presented in English, Spanish and French.

“OARE is a new and inspiring example of international cooperation that can contribute to the reduction of the North-South scientific gap and digital divide, objectives that are both at the top of the UN agenda and the UN Millennium Development Goals,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.

The initiative will also provide Abstract and Index Research Databases (A&I Databases) - intellectual tools the scientific and professional community use to search for information within thousands of scholarly publications.

Access for institutions in the 70 poorest countries will be free while there will be a nominal charge for institutions in 38 lower middle income countries, fees which will be reinvested to support continued training and outreach activities in these countries.

OARE will be managed in close cooperation with two earlier UN initiatives - the Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), launched by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001 to provide research to the medical community in developing nations, and Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA), launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Cornell University in 2003 to provide research to the agricultural community.


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