Kristin Kolshus is an Agronomist and Information Management Specialist, working on AGORA/Research4Life programme and a member of the AIMS Team. In this interview we asked her to shed more information regarding the AGORA programme and explain some issues related to registrations and current developments.
Tell us briefly about yourself and your role in the AGORA programme?
I am involved in AGORA/Research4Life communications, administration, marketing, and training, which is very inspiring and also brings me into contact with the wider Research4Life network of partners. I am the system administrator for the common Research4Life client technology architecture for WHO, FAO, UNEP, WIPO.We embarked on a lengthy journey the last few years which is now bringing much-needed processing efficiencies for the help desk teams. Working with AGORA is a daily reminder of how a small programme can have a very large impact, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be part of this.
Who are the intended audience for the AGORA? Is every developing country eligible?
The primary target audiences for AGORA are research and teaching universities, national research organizations, government offices and ministries (agriculture, environment, forestry, health, research, etc.), publicly funded and not-for-profit agencies, and libraries. Registrations for AGORA are welcomed from these institutions located in in eligible countries. The list of eligible countries is reviewed each year by the publishers, based on four factors which are explained elaborately here.
Most researchers in developing countries still complain about the lack of access to journal literature, what measures are in place to increase awareness to the AGORA program?
Training and outreach are essential to the success of the Research4Life programmes. The approaches used include, online and CD-ROM training modules, posters and leaflets in six languages , In-country and distance education training courses. Courses include presentations, lectures, group discussions, hands-on practice, plus hand-outs. These are aimed at librarians, information specialists, scientists, researchers and students. There are national workshops that have taken place in Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Europe, and Africa. The African training is undertaken by ITOCA (Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa), based in South Africa. Thanks to Webinars@AIMS, we are now also using webinars to increase awareness.
Some new publishers might be interested to be included in the AGORA programme, what are the requirements?
p>We welcome suggestions for academic and professional peer-reviewed journals for the AGORA programme. The continuing support from the publisher partners who provide the growing wealth of journals and books accessible through the program is essential. Our colleagues at Mann Library at Cornell University have a key role in reviewing new online journals suggested for AGORA: they review journals offered and decide one by one if they are applicable to AGORA. The main requirements for participation are that the content must be in one or more of the following subjects: Agriculture, Animal Science, Entomology, Environment, Aquatic Science, Food Science, Human Nutrition, Forestry, Plant Science and Soil Science, and that the content is available online in full text or equivalent versions for non-journal literature.p> p>What future developments should users expect in the AGORA programme
We are always striving to improve our services, despite limited resources, and to improve awareness of the Research4Life programs in eligible institutions. We would like to do more webinars. This year we are working to improve use of AGORA user support and use of AGORA among registered but inactive institutions, as well as continuing to reach out to new institutions. The goal is really that the journals and books are being used for improvements in health, agriculture, environment and innovation in Research4Life countries and territories, and we will continue to do our best to support that.