Major journals cut access in poor countries

A global system granting free access to scientific journals in low-income countries is under threat, with major publishers withdrawing their support.

Earlier this year, four leading publishers told Bangladesh researchers they would stop free access to their 2500 journals, including the publications of Elsevier, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Springer through the Health InterNetwork for Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) system. 

WHO confirmed exclusions now applied to 28 of the 64 low-income countries who previously had access to the HINARI, initiated in 2001 by WHO. 

Richard Smith, a co-creator of the HINARI while serving as editor of the BMJ, urged the publishers to reconsider their move.  

“The actions of these publishers has been effectively to deny the vast majority of researchers in Bangladesh access to the latest published data for what is unlikely to be more than a few thousand dollars’ profit,