THE LONG TERM FUTURE OF HINARI, AGORA AND OARE

16 August, 2006 | in DCC News
By: Joy Davidson

Representatives from a large number of publishers met with their colleagues from the FAO, WHO and UNEP, Yale and Cornell Libraries and other partner organizations at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington for the annual HINARI-AGORA-OARE Partners meeting on July 20th 2006. A major theme of the meeting was to consider the results of two specially commissioned independent reviews of the current status of the HINARI and AGORA programmes, five years after the launch of the first programme, and to decide upon their longer term future. I am delighted to report that the partners accepted the recommendation of both Reviews that HINARI, AGORA and the soon to be launched OARE programme should be continued at least to meet the time scale of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. This means that the partners, under the present terms of participation, have made a commitment to continue and develop the programmes at least until 2015. In this, they will seek increased participation from users, librarians and information specialists in the beneficiary countries. The Reviews, funded largely with a grant from the UK's Department for International Development, looked at user feedback, publisher experiences, training and infrastructure issues, five years after HINARI first launched. The reviews were conducted by John Scott (Center for Public Service Communication, Arlington, USA) and Mark Ware (Mark Ware Consulting Ltd, Bristol, UK). Other recommendations which came from the Reviews, and which we will be following up on, included the need for improved authentication processes which would make it easier for users to access the 3,600+ journals from almost 100 international publishers in the HINARI and AGORA catalogues, the need for increased training and promotion, and a more formal organization structure. KEY DECISIONS OF THE PARTNERS MEETING: * The Partners accepted the recommendations of the Usage and Infrastructure (Partners) Reviews. * HINARI-AGORA-OARE will continue and will be linked to the time scale of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, with a review date of 2015. * Guidelines for publishers to participate in HINARI-AGORA-OARE will continue as present. * The partners will develop a long term Strategic Plan. * AGORA Phase 2 (access for countries with a GNP between $1001 and $3000) will launch in September 2006. * It is planned that OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment) will be launched in October 2006. * The partners will continue to seek support funds for training, outreach and other programme related activities. * Access will continue to be free to more than 2,100 institutions in 69 of the least developed countries * The publishers will continue to remit all access fees ($1000 per institution) from 44 "Phase 2" countries to WHO and FAO for training and outreach in order to increase usage of the programmes. Maurice Long Publisher Coordinator, HINARI-AGORA-OARE International Association of STM Publishers 344 - 354 Grays Inn Road London EC1X 8BP long@stm.nl