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@WHO’s @HINARI Programme Manager, Kimberly Parker, speaks exclusively to HealthNewsNG

HINARI clocked 15 years in July and it has grown to become a powerful tool that offers researchers in Nigeria, Africa and other developing countries to access medical literature. In this exclusive interview, Kimberly Parker, Programme Manager, HINARI at WHO, shares insightful statistics on INARI, she also puts the past, present and future of HINARI into sharp perspective.

Kimberly Parker, Programme Manager, HINARI at WHO. Photo by WHO/HINARI

Kimberly Parker, Programme Manager, HINARI at WHO. Photo by WHO/HINARI

How did HINARI come into existence and how were the journal publishers convinced to offer free access to their publications?

KP: Hinari began with the voicing of a need. In 2000 during a World Health Organization (WHO)-led workshop, low- and middle-income country (LMIC) researchers “agreed that without access to top quality, timely and reliable information of the kind exemplified by the major journals, it is very difficult to do quality research or train researchers.”

Following quickly on the expression of need came an idea – that the internet could make it possible for publishers to offer published literature to the developing world for free, when such generosity with printed materials was less feasible. This was actually voiced by a number of biomedical editors who had noted the outcome of the workshop. 

Thereafter a WHO librarian (Barbara Aronson), who had helped facilitate the workshop above, contacted Richard Smith of the BMJ about developing a method for publishers to provide their content without cost in LMICs, and that was Hinari’s very simple beginning.  The initial publisher coordinator (Maurice Long – who worked for Richard Smith) has since described the experience as pushing on an open door.  Everyone simply wanted to find a way to make it work.  There was no convincing needed.  The initial conversations with a few major publishers led in July 2001 to WHO and the initial six founding biomedical publishers joining forces in the Hinari partnership, and thereafter the partnership rapidly expanded in terms of countries, publishers, and journal titles and then other online publications. 

An assessment of HINARI’s popularity in Africa. Which African countries use HINARI most, which specific institution uses HINARI highest?

We cannot provide individual institution               data for privacy reasons.  For the rest of this question, there are different ways of analysing rankings by country.  Simply going by total logins in the countries for first six months of 2016, we find Nigeria using most:

1-Nigeria

2- Kenya

3- Malawi

4- Uganda

5- Senegal

If we take into account the number of institutions signed up for Hinari in a country, and look at average usage per institution in countries for the same period, we find Malawi having the highest per-institution usage.  On this scale, Nigeria ranks 14th:

1- Malawi

2- Gambia

3- Mauritius

4- Senegal

5- Guinea

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Paul is a freelance journalist, medical researcher and extensively published author. He holds a MSc degree in cell biology and genetics, and is a PhD candidate of the University of Ibadan

2 Comments

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