UNEP, Yale and Publishers Launch "Online Access to Research in the Environment"

To help reduce great disparities in scientific resources, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Yale University, and leading science and technology publishers today launch a new collaborative initiative to make global research in the environmental sciences available online to scientists, researchers, and policy makers in the developing world for free or at nominal cost.

Through Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE), more than 200 prestigious publishers, societies and associations will offer one of the world’s largest collections of scholarly, peer-reviewed environmental science journals to over 1,200 public and non-profit environmental institutions in more than 100 developing nations of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. Every institution enrolled in OARE will receive access to literature with an annual retail subscription value of many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Institutions eligible to enroll and access resources through OARE include universities and colleges, academies of sciences, research institutes, ministries of the environment and other government agencies, libraries, and a range of national non-governmental organizations. Access for institutions in 70 low-income countries will be free. Institutions in 36 lower-middle-income countries will pay a nominal fee, all of which will be reinvested to support continued training and outreach activities in eligible countries.

“OARE is a new and inspiring example of international cooperation that can contribute greatly 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, Executive Director of UNEP.

Over 1,000 scholarly journal titles in such fields as biotechnology, botany, climate change, ecology, energy, environmental chemistry, environmental economics, environmental engineering and planning, environmental law and policy, environmental toxicology and pollution, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, urban planning, and zoology will be provided through a portal presented in English, Spanish and French. OARE will also provide important Abstract and Index Research Databases (A&I Databases) — tools the scientific and professional community use to search for information within scholarly publications.

OARE aims to contribute to the development of expert professional and academic communities and an informed public, encourage scientific creativity and productivity, and facilitate the development of progressive science-based national policies. It will help enable countries to build their own higher education programs in the environmental sciences, educate their own leaders, conduct their own research, publish their own scientific findings, and disseminate information to policy makers and the public.

“Thanks to advances in information and communication technologies and the great generosity of many leading scientific publishers and foundations, we have an unprecedented opportunity to provide environmental institutions in developing countries with important intellectual resources we in the developed world so often take for granted,” said James Gustave Speth, dean of Yale’s Environment School.

“Scientific publishers welcome this opportunity to provide access to the latest published research in environmental and related sciences to researchers and other professionals in 106 developing countries,” said Michael Mabe, CEO of the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM).  “We expect that, in turn, higher quality research will emerge from those countries, to the benefit of all of us,”

 “The Hewlett Foundation is committed to providing high quality educational materials to students and scholars in the developing world. We are extremely pleased to join with Yale, UNEP and the many participating publishers, societies and associations to make scientific resources available in developing countries, where the need is so great,” stated Paul Brest, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

OARE will be coordinated by UNEP and Yale University in association with STM and 30 leading science and technology publishing houses. Support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  OARE will be managed in close cooperation with the Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), launched by the 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.   For more information, please visit the OARE website.

Organizations providing scientific content through OARE include leading scientific publishers (e.g. Annual Reviews, Blackwell, Cambridge, Elsevier, John Wiley, Nature Publishing Group, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Oxford and many others) and more than 200 scientific societies and associations (e.g. French Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ecological Society of America, National Academy of Sciences, Nordic Society OIKOS, Oceanographic Society of Japan, Royal Geographical Society, Royal Meteorological Society of Great Britain, and the Zoological Society of London). A complete listing of OARE’s founding publishers, societies and associations is at www.oaresciences.org.

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Janet Rettig Emanuel: janet.emanuel@yale.edu, 203-432-2157