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Organisational Networking for Getting in the Access Loop

The following is a list of organisations that were mentioned in the discussion on “Getting in the Access Loop: Enabling more Health Researchers in Africa to Publish Effectively.”

Each of these organisations was highlighted for successfully addressing key issues in building research capacity and promoting dissemination of research findings–and we hope it is a useful resource for those who wish to work on these issues in their own institutions.

To download the recording of “Getting in the Access Loop,” please click here.  To keep the conversation going and meet others who are interested in, and working on, these topics, please join the HIFA2015 forum.

Africa Health, Website:

For over 30 years Africa Health has been a leading source of clinical and managerial information for health professionals from across Africa. Incorporating the old Medicine Digest title in 2002 for a few years it appeared as a part of Mera (Medical Education Resource Africa) journal which also incorporated the excellent African Health Sciences journal as well as our sister journals, the African Journal of Diabetes Medicine, and the African Journal of Respiratory Medicine.

Aptivate, Website: http://www.aptivate.orgTwitter: @aptivateuk

Aptivate is a not-for-profit NGO providing IT services for International Development.  Their expertise is in:

  • Power: Low cost, low power, low carbon computing in all environments; community deployment and training.
  • Data: Mobile data collection, knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, analysis and reporting.
  • Bandwidth: Low bandwidth communications, bandwidth management and optimisation, syncing data.
  • People: Participation is development: we build capacity and work with users to develop technology.

They use iterative, agile and participatory methodologies; build web, database and mobile applications; work with agencies, organisations and local communities; and advise on strategy, policy, implementation and procurement.

AuthorAID, Website: @authoraid

AuthorAID supports developing country researchers in publishing and communicating their work. AuthorAID is a programme run by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), a charity in Oxford, UK. The components of AuthorAID are summarised below.

  • Online mentoring scheme: For early-career researchers to receive personalised support from senior researchers or editors • Over 4500 researchers registered on the AuthorAID website (as of April 2012 • Advice, learning agreement form and case study available on the AuthorAID website
  • E-resources: Over 400 free, downloadable e-resources on research communication are available on the AuthorAID website
  • Grants: • Travel Grants for researchers to present at international conferences (next announcement: June 2012) • Workshop Grants for administrators or researchers to organise workshops on research communication (next announcement: June 2012) • Summer Course Grants for researchers to attend an intensive course on research writing at Texas A&M University, USA (next announcement: October 2012)
  • Blog: A few posts every week on topics related to scientific writing and research communication
  • Workshops: Several workshops on research writing in partner countries every year • Since 2011, AuthorAID staff have facilitated workshops in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nepal, Rwanda and Zambia. Additional workshops have been organised through workshop grants and local initiatives.
  • E-learning: • Successful pilot e-learning course conducted in 2011 • E-learning courses likely to be announced in late 2012

For more information, please see or write to Ravi Murugesan, AuthorAID Training Coordinator, at

BioMed Central, Website: Twitter: @BioMedCentral

BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher of 220 open access, online, peer-reviewed journals. The portfolio of journals spans all areas of biology and medicine and includes broad interest titles, such as BMC Biology and BMC Medicine alongside specialist journals, such asRetrovirology and BMC Genomics. All original research articles published by BioMed Central are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication. BioMed Central levies anarticle-processing charge to cover the cost of the publication process. Authors publishing with BioMed Central retain the copyright to their work, licensing it under the Creative Commons Attribution Licensewhich allows articles to be re-used and re-distributed without restriction, as long as the original work is correctly cited. BioMed Central is owned by Springer Science+ Business Media, and also hosts theSpringerOpen platform.

COHRED (Council On Health Research for Development), Website:, Twitter: @cohred 

The COHRED Group believes that national research and innovation capacity are key to health, equity and development. Strong national systems can use research to find solutions to health problems whilst promoting partnerships that can improve access to these solutions – in a way that benefits everyone. The COHRED Group partners with, and provides technical support, tools and methods to build strong research and innovation systems in, low and middle income countries. We share our experiences with high income countries and their institutions, business and citizens – in support of their actions in low and middle income countries. We connect, advocate, and monitor progress towards health, equity and development through research and innovation in countries and globally.

Our website is and the link to our HR4HR paper is

Emerging Voices, Website:, Twitter: @ev4gh

The global health scene is still largely dominated by Northern stakeholders.  In 2008 the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp, Belgium decided to actively encourage the presence of Southern based experts on the global health scene. It started with a modest newsletter and blog that is currently followed by 2,000+ subscribers. But that wasn’t enough! In an attempt to actively engage people from the global south in international academic conferences and to raise their voice in the scientific debate the Emerging Voices Venture was born. You can find a short description of the venture on the 2010 webpage.

Frontline SMS, Website: @FrontlineSMS

Mobile. Social. Change.  FrontlineSMS lowers barriers to driving transformative social change using mobile technologies. We build and distribute free and open-source software; provide support and resources to our users, and draw on our users experiences to inspire others.

We believe in giving local people ownership of the tools they need to change their world for the better. We have never monitored an election, or run a healthcare clinic, but our users have —and we help them to use mobile technologies in their work, without dictating how our software should be used.

By using available technology—affordable laptops and basic mobile phones—we help organizations in both economically developed and under-developed countries to overcome communication barriers they face.

GrandIR, Website:, Twitter: @GrandIR_CB 

GrandIR provides technical support to institutional repository projects in universities and research centres. Repositories are databases of self-produced research works which the abovementioned institutions offer in an Open Access way, that is, freely available via the Internet.  GrandIR aims to offer these repositories, either running or still in project, a whole series of support services for contributing to their development along their different implementation stages. GrandIR intends thus to become a technological partner to those projects interested in having a support service, as well as to the Open Access and repository community as a whole.

With these goals in mind, GrandIR will work along the following three main lines:

  • Providing support for setting up and developing Open Access repositories, plus related services
  • Organizing technical sessions for the repository and Open Access community
  • Promoting Open Access-related initiatives, such as repositories and digital libraries, in developing countries in an international cooperation framework

HIFA2015, Website: @HIFA2015

The HIFA2015 campaign was launched in Mombasa, Kenya in October 2006, at the 10th Congress of the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa. Our shared goal is: By 2015, every person worldwide will have access to an informed healthcare provider. People will no longer be dying for lack of knowledge.

There is an urgent need to improve the availability and use of healthcare information in developing countries. In 2004 the World Health Organization commissioned a review of the issues, and a short version of this was published in The Lancet by Fiona Godlee et al, under the title ‘Can we achieve health information for all by 2015?’. The authors called for WHO and others to champion the goal of Healthcare Information for All by 2015. The HIFA2015 campaign is a direct response to that challenge.

HINARI (Research4Life), Website: (, Twitter: @R4LPartnership

HINARI Programme set up by WHO together with major publishers, enables developing countries to gain access to one of the world’s largest collections of biomedical and health literature. More than 8,500 journals and 7000 e-books (in 30 different languages) are now available to health institutions in more than 100 countries, areas and territories benefiting many thousands of health workers and researchers, and in turn, contributing to improve world health.


 The Humanitarian Centre, Website: www.humanitariancentre.orgTwitter: @HumCentre

The Humanitarian Centre is an international development network affiliated with the University of Cambridge. We bring together NGOs, researchers, entrepreneurs, academics, business leaders, students and consultants   working to reduce global poverty.

The Humanitarian Centre exists to facilitate collaboration between sectors and disciplines, to share best practice, and to promote dialogue and learning. In parallel we build the skills and capacity of over 40 NGOs and member groups. By adding value to UK-based work with overseas partners, the Humanitarian Centre positively impacts communities across the world.

INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications), Website: @INASPinfo

INASP works with partners to support global research communication through innovation, networking and capacity strengthening, focusing on the needs of developing and emerging countries.  We work with them to address their national priorities for:

  • access to national and international scholarly information and knowledge
  • use, creation, management and uptake of scholarly information and knowledge via appropriate ICTs
  • national, regional and international cooperation, networking and knowledge exchange
  • We also advise and advocate for improved policy and practice in achieving sustainable and equitable development through effective communication, knowledge and networks.

Itupale, Website: @C2Africa

Itupale is a Yoruba word meaning “in-depth investigation”.  The Itupale Online Journal of African Studies has been formed to support and promote scholarly work from all academic disciplines that relate to Africa. Our principal aim is to provide an open platform for African scholars. Submissions from authors residing in sub continent Africa and South America are particularly encouraged. The journal will be published on-line once a year.  The journal invites articles from all disciplines that relate to our current theme.

There are opportunities for African researchers to apply to join the editorial board of Itupale for Volume 5, to get a more in-depth understanding of a journal’s editorial process.  Contact Dr Sacha DeVelle at for more details.

MEDLINE®/PubMed®, Website:, Twitter: @ncbi_pubmed

MEDLINE® contains journal citations and abstracts for biomedical literature from around the world.  PubMed® provides free access to MEDLINE and links to full text articles when possible.

Pan African Medical Journal, Website:

The PAMJ is in electronic format only (no paper version), therefore, articles can be made available in a very short time. We are committed in maintaining high quality of scientific articles trough serious, accurate but fast peer-review process. We believe that scientific work done in Africa should be rapidly and freely made available to all researchers worldwide, while authors should retain the intellectual property of the articles they send to the journal.

  • Vision: To be the leading medical journal in Africa and one of the best in the world.
  • Mission: To create, stimulate and perpetuate a culture of information sharing and publishing amongst researchers and other health actors of the African health scene in ways that will contribute to availability of health information, better understanding of Africa specificities and overall, to improve health outcomes of the people on the continent.

 PLoS (Public Library of Science), Website: @PLoS

PLoS (Public Library of Science) is a non-profit publisher and advocacy organization with a mission of leading a transformation in scientific and medical research communication. Everything we publish is open-access – freely available online for anyone to use – which benefits everyone, from researchers, educators, and patient advocates to funders, policymakers, and the public. Sharing research encourages progress – from protecting the biodiversity of our planet to finding more effective treatments for diseases such as AIDS or cancer.

Our core objectives are to:

  • Provide ways to overcome unnecessary barriers to immediate availability, access, and use of research
  • Pursue a publishing strategy that optimizes the openness, quality, and integrity of the publication process
  • Develop innovative approaches to the assessment, organization, and reuse of ideas and data

RAND Europe, Website:, Twitter: @RANDCorporation 

RAND Europe is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to help improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.

We realise our mission by undertaking objective, balanced and relevant research and analysis; communicating our findings to a wide audience, often through publications, many of which are available on this web site; working in partnership with our clients; and working collaboratively with others.

RAND Europe’s in-house teams offer multidisciplinary and multinational research strengths, both substantive and methodological. RAND Europe’s work lies on the continuum between that of universities and consultancies, combining the academic rigour of universities and the professional, task oriented approach of consultancies.

THRiVE, Website: http://www.thrive.or.ugCambridge Website: @THRiVE_EA

Africa bears a disproportional amount of the world’s disease burden and this in turn has a significant negative impact on its people and the continent’s economic development. Scientific infrastructure and research training are weak and under-resourced in many parts of Africa, contributing to a failure to apply modern technologies and medical advances to the health challenges still facing much of the continent. The strengthening of Africa’s indigenous scientific research base is crucial to the identification of its disease control and public health priorities, and to the discovery and successful application of appropriate solutions. The “Training Health Researchers into Vocational Excellence in East Africa” (THRiVE) partnership, led by Makerere University in Uganda, aims to strengthen institutional research capacity in East Africa, and to support the next generation of East African researchers to become internationally competitive and self-sustaining scientific leaders, seeding a regional research community with the critical mass to address African health priorities.

THRiVE has matched outstanding young researchers with exciting projects over a wide range of disciplines, and is supporting them with committed teams of scientific mentors. The University of Cambridge, along with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will provide training, co-supervision and mentorship for THRiVE PhD and post-doctoral fellows registered in the African partner universities. The first fellowships begun in 2011.

The Director of the THRiVE consortium is Professor Nelson Sewankambo at Makerere University.  The main THRiVE consortium website is available at

University of Cambridge Centre for African Studies, Website:, Twitter: @CASCambridge

The Centre of African Studies The Centre of African Studies was established in 1965 by the path-breaking anthropologist, Dr Audrey Richards. We act as a hub for graduate level and faculty research, we run weekly seminars and research workshops for graduate students and we organise international conferences both in Cambridge and in African institutions. In addition to fostering PhD level research, we run a one-year interdisciplinary MPhil in African Studies, with teaching contributions from faculty in History, Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Geography and English.

The course also includes training in an African language. We are committed to active engagement with Africa-based scholarship and to this end we run the Cambridge/Africa Collaborative Research programme which each year brings four or five African scholars to Cambridge for six-month periods to work with us and share their research. The Centre is part of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and its work is overseen by a Management Committee whose members re drawn from across the University.

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