In this edition of Jon Udell's Interviews with Innovators, host Jon dell speaks with Barbara Aronson, program manager for the World Health Organization's Health InterNetwork Access Initiative (HINARI). Thanks to this program, qualifying hospitals, universities, and other organizations in 70 of the poorest countries receive free access to many of the best biomedical journals. Another 43 somewhat less poor countries pay token fees to access the journals, an arrangement that has drawn criticism from some open access advocates. Barbara Aronson argues that the developed world's notion of open access is too narrow, that HINARI is an important form of open access, and that it has also become a laboratory in which publishers can explore a tiered pricing model that may ultimately apply to developed countries too.
The economics of scientific publishing notwithstanding, HINARI represents a revolution in poor countries' access to current medical research. And researchers in those countries aren't just consuming the information. They're also processing it to produce new research that reflects their own very different circumstances.
Barbara Aronson, formerly a systems librarian at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, now manages the World Health Organization's library. She has been a driving force behind the creation of HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), a joint effort by the World Health Organization and the publishers of thousands of biomedical journals to make those journals available to poor countries at low or no cost.
This free podcast is from our Jon Udell's Interviews with Innovators series.