Highlights from Country-Based Research4Life (HINARI & AGORA) Workshop at Datacom

The ‘hybrid’ HINARI & AGORA workshop was conducted at Datacom Training Centre in Vientiane,  13-16 December 2016. The objectives were to have the participants learn the critical skills of HINARI and AGORA and related Internet resources that would be applied to their scientific information needs. 


Research4Life is the collective name for the four programmes – HINARI, AGORA, OARE and ARDI – that provide developing countries with free or low cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content online.

The recent ‘HINARI (Access to Research for Health)  & AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) workshop took place at the Datacom Training Center, 13-16 December 2016. This workshop was supported by the following:



WHO - Western Pacific Region (WPRO)

FAO Lao Country Office

Librarians Without Borders®/Medical Library Association (LWB)


Prof. Lenny Rhine (LWB)

Gerard Sylvester (FAO/Thailand Regional Office)

Marie Villemin Partow (WPRO)

Irene Tan (WHO/Lao PDR Country Office)

Bouaphanh Khamphaphongphane (Lao PDR Ministry of Health)

The total number of participants was forty-eight, among which there were:

  • thirty-one (from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Public Health, National University of Laos, National Library of Laos and four hospitals) for HINARI;
  • fourteen participants (from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, National University of Laos, National Library of Laos and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment) focused on AGORA;
  • three Lao PDR based staff from the Asia Foundation interested in collaborating with the R4L programs in Lao PDR and other eligible countries.





13 - 14  December 

A joint workshop for the participants from HINARI & AGORA programs.

Training modules:

  • Research4Life (R4L) Overview & Internet Searching
  • Information on the Internet
  • Using the HINARI & AGORA portals 
  • Summon Search tool for HINARI & AGORA
  • E-resources for R4L Users  
  • Overview of R4L training material

All presentations had hands on/practical activities with several being group projects.







For the dual program modules, the AGORA participants used a separate set of exercises that focused on their subject material.  These were not translated into Lao.

All the HINARi exercises had been translated into Lao which enabled the participants to successfully complete the material in a timely fashion. 


15 December 

AGORA training

15 -16 December 

A review for the original group and a briefer overview of the initial HINARI modules for the new 15 HINARI-oriented participants. 

Presentation of new HINARI-oriented material including four PubMed, evidence based medicine and e-book resources modules.

HINARI & AGORA group exercises to develop the curriculum for training.

The HINARI & AGORA participants completed post-training surveys.


  • The workshop was well organized and very productive.
  • The length was appropriate for course content.
  • The workshop had relevant material with useful ‘hands-on’ exercises.
  • Major strengths of the workshop included Demos/Hands on, Information Gained and Support Material.
  • The trainers were knowledgeable/organized, effective presenter and responsive to questions;
  • The workshop resulted in their obtaining useful knowledge and skills.   
  • Participants are ready both to use knowledge gained for their trainees and to share this knowledge to members in their offices/institutions.

In the survey comments, several participants noted that the workshop should have devoted more time to the Zotero reference management software module.  Due to time constraints and the fact that participants did not bring laptops, this software was not downloaded onto personal computers nor were the hands-on exercises completed.  The follow-up recommendation is that the text of this module be translated into Lao and both versions sent to the participants.  They would be have the details to download the software and complete the hands-on exercises.

Moreover, in hindsight, more discussion by the trainers about:

  • the two (HINARI & AGORA) programs’ content and common modules;
  • the schedule;
  • a clearer focus for the selection process

would have been beneficial.