A global network of researchers

How can I access the research literature that I need?

By AuthorAID Team | April 5, 2017

- In this blog Mai Skovgaard, Programme Officer at INASP, describes different ways of getting access to research in developing countries.

Access to previously published research can help you to refine your own research and research papers by building on and referencing work done by colleagues within your field. But we know that in many developing countries it can be difficult to access research, or find information on what resources are available.

In the Research Access and Higher Education team at INASP we work with library consortia in developing countries to facilitate access to research information for researchers, academics, students and policymakers in many countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. As a result of this work, and that of others, you may already have access to many thousands of online journals and books, in full text, free at the point of use.

In order to help you discover what is available, we have put together a guide for identifying and using online research literature for academics, researchers and students, which now appears in the AuthorAID Resource Library.

There are several routes you can take to discover available research information; a few of these are outlined below (all of these are described in more detail in the guide):


INASP has negotiated for deeply discounted, sometimes free, access to online research literature for eligible institutions in many countries. Use the “Country” box at www.inasp.info to select your country and chose the “view research literature” bar to see the list of resources available.

Access to these resources is via the respective publisher’s platform. You will find links either from your library’s website or from INASP’s publisher pages linked from: www.inasp.info/en/network/publishers.

Research 4 Life (R4L)

Research4Life is the collective name for four initiatives, AGORA (agriculture), HINARI (medicine and health) OARE (environmental science) and ARDI (technology and innovation). These resources also include content in cross-cutting thematic areas, such as economics, public policy, anthropology, development etc. You will need to ask your librarian for a username and password to access these resources: www.research4life.org.

Open Access

Open Access (OA) means unrestricted online access to scholarly research. No registration is needed. More information and lists of multi-disciplinary and subject collections can be found at www.inasp.info/en/training-resources/open-access-resources.


Repositories are online spaces for collecting, preserving, and disseminating, in digital form, the intellectual output of an institution or larger entity. A repository may contain a range of material deposited there by scholars including, but not limited to, copies of journals articles (e.g. ‘Green’ Open Access pre-prints), conference papers, working papers, theses and dissertations, and datasets from research projects. 

The OpenDOAR project searches across a number of repositories for freely available academic research information.

National and regional online journals and platforms

A number of regions and countries have developed their own online journal platforms. Most of the journals on these platforms are Open Access; for others it is possible to obtain copies of the articles on payment of a token fee. These include:                

African Journals Online (AJOL)  www.ajol.info
Bangladesh Journals Online (BanglaJOL)www.banglajol.info
Central American Journals Online (CAMJOL)www.camjol.info
Nepal Journals Online (NepJOL)www.nepjol.info
Scielo (Brazil)    www.scielo.org
Sri Lanka Journals Online (SLJOL)      www.sljol.info
Vietnam Journals Online (VJOL) www.vjol.info

Finally, don’t forget that if you are experiencing problems with accessing research information that it looks like you should have access to, your first point of contact should be your librarian as they are the ones best placed to help you. 

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