Developing countries' research output shows big increase

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There has been a dramatic rise in research output by scientists in the developing world since 2002, according to the partners of Research4Life. By comparing absolute growth in published research before (1996 – 2002) and after (2002 - 2008) the advent of the Research4Life programmes, the analysis has revealed a 194 per cent or 6.4-fold increase in articles published in peer reviewed journals.

Research4Life is the collective name given to HINARI, AGORA and OARE, the three public-private partnerships that offer health, agriculture and environmental research for free or at very low cost to developing countries.

The analysis, conducted by Elsevier’s associate director of scientometrics & market analysis, Andrew Plume, showed that absolute growth in research between 1996 - 2002 was 25 per cent in non Research4Life countries (countries not eligible due to their GNI per capita), 22 per cent in Band 1 countries (eligible countries with less than $1250 annual per capita income or GNI) and 30 per cent in Band 2 countries (eligible countries with $1251 to $3500 GNI).  Five years on, between 2002 - 2008, the same figures are 67 per cent, 145 per cent and 194 per cent respectively indicating 2.6-, 6.5- and 6.4-fold increases over the 1996-2002 growth. Plume used a database sourced from Thomson Reuters to count the appearance of each country in the author affiliations of indexed journal articles, and then grouped these countries by their Research4Life eligibility.

‘Since we have had access to Research4Life, the researchers, and especially the clinicians at the College of Medicine, University of Port Harcourt, have been able to engage more with the global science community,’  said Henrietta Otokunefor, Automation Librarian at the University of Port Harcourt Library in Nigeria. ‘The library computers and those at the ICTC for faculty are often occupied and I've seen a growth in published research from our students as well. It is great to see that Nigeria has made progress in this area as increased scientific developments can lead to improved health and economics, and in the end, a better quality of life.’