In support of the newly established partnership, the United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries (TBLDC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have successfully developed and delivered a new edition of the Research4Life Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for the 47 least-developed countries entitled: “Research4Life Online Training Tools to develop capacities in information use, scholarly communication and information management in least developed countries”.
Up to 1,500 participants representing 75 countries took part in the online training activities to enhance knowledge of and access to the most recent high quality and relevant scientific knowledge. Throughout the empowering learning opportunity, participants were introduced to the thousands of scientific journals and books available through Research4Life to students, researchers, practitioners, etc. in countries across the world.
The course also equipped participants with the skills required to access and use the scientific knowledge effectively and efficiently, including how to conduct effectual self searches, discovery and re-use of scholarly literature, and tools to help design advocacy strategies to address decision makers, thus giving them the opportunity to participate fully in the global scientific community. By providing this extensive training and knowledge to the many participants worldwide, it will help to close the knowledge gap, particularly in the 47 least-developed countries.
“Being made aware of the millions of scholarly resources at my disposal as a teacher, clinical practitioner and also as a researcher. The literature ranges from journal articles, e-books, clinical guidelines and other grey literature. I found out that we struggle to make an impact yet we are standing in a sea of resources. That was awesome! The course was the medicine to cure our knowledge deficiency.” - Beloved Masava, participant from Lesotho
“I am personally and genuinely thrilled about the potentials for accessing resources that would add the needed value, not only to my professional development, but also personal knowledge and development too. This is because I've had problems in the past in attempts to access recent and timely publications and other resources for teaching and research. Preparing journal articles for publication was particularly challenging before now. This enormous opportunity from R4L to access valuable resources has really excited me to look forward to preparing future journal articles and other academic-related documents for teaching and research.” - Obafemi Awolowo University, participant from Nigeria
Of the countries represented by participants, up to 55% were from the 47 least-developed countries as listed by the the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN OHRLLS).
Figure 1 - Map shows the distribution of LDCs represented in the course enrollment. Green represents the highest participation which is from Ethiopia with 225 participants
Due to the large success of the first edition, a second edition of the course will run between 5 October to 8 November 2020. The call for applications is open until 28 September. Please register here.
“The course provides a strong foundation for researchers by providing essential skills on 'how to conduct a research'; helping me to join researchers in the North and beyond. There was ongoing support throughout the course. Degree of flexibility in adjusting schedule: considering the Ethiopian internet shut down, the exam schedule was adjusted for us. I am happy that we were valued and considered.” - Amha Ermias, participant from Ethiopia
The Research4Life online course offered flexibility, which allowed participants to study their own area of interest throughout a five-week period. The course covered topics relevant across all Research4Life programmes, such as the scholarly communication landscape, information literacy skills, advocacy and capacity development strategies. Additionally, it provided discipline-specific information for Hinari, AGORA, OARE, ARDI and GOALI.
“The course has really impacted me positively and improved my knowledge on research. The facilitators and instructors are second to none as the webinar and course materials are the best. This course happens to be the best achievement for me this year considering the pandemic issue in the world. Long live research4life and the team members.” - Olukunmi Olatunji AKANNI, participant from Nigeria
“My experience with the course has been pleasant, enriching, in-depth, and detailed. The course has advanced my knowledge in literature searches, accessing quality and credible journal outlets, and conducting online research. It is exactly the kind of exposure I needed to upgrade my teaching and research capacity and become a better academic. I appreciate the course facilitators for the effective delivery of their subject, and the Research4Life providers for creating the opportunities and everyone for the success of the entire program. It's been a valuable addition for me associating with Research4Life for the first time.” - Dada Omolara Mujidat, participant from Nigeria