Global perspective Human stories

UN-backed environmental database now accessible to over 100 developing nations

UN-backed environmental database now accessible to over 100 developing nations

More than 100 developing nations now have access to a United Nations-backed online environmental database which allows users to view material worth $1.5 million from prominent environmental science journals.

The “Online Access to Research in the Environment” project – involving the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Yale University, the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical Publishers and over 300 publishers, key scientific societies and associations – was launched last year and offered free or low-cost service to 70 of the world’s poorest nations with per capital incomes below $1,000.

In its second phase, the initiative has added 37 more countries, areas and territories – including Algeria, the Maldives, Suriname and Vanuatu – with per capita incomes ranging between $1,000 and $3,000.

“Providing practitioners, researchers and scientists with online access to scientific research on the environment has been a long-held dream and desire by institutions around the world,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

The project is making great strides towards bridging the North-South scientific gap and digital divide, as well as bolstering environmental institutions in many developing nations, he added.

After a three-month free trial period, participating countries’ institutions will be asked for yearly contributions of $1,000, which is less than 0.1 per cent of the annual retail subscription value of the available resources. These fees will be reinvesting in training programmes in these countries.

Microsoft and Ex Libris Software are assisting in the project, allowing for full-text articles to be opened directly, allowing users to save time.