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International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
PO Box 516, Oxford OX1 1WG, UK
Tel: +44 1865 249909 Fax: +44 1865 251060
Web: www.inasp.info

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1. Delivers information
2. Disseminates national and regional research
3. Enhances ICT skills
4. Strengthens local  publishing
5. Supports country collaboration and networking
6. Research and development
Eligible countries

Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI) 

A programme to support capacity building in the research sector in developing and transitional countries by strengthening the production, access and dissemination of information & knowledge

There is an increased recognition of the vital role that information and knowledge can play in development - and of the potential of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) within this. During 1999/2000 INASP was approached by research partners and librarians in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the New Independent States to assist them in the design and implementation of a programme of complementary activities to support information production, access and dissemination utilising ICTs. Following two brainstorming workshops and a large number of country-wide discussions, the Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI) was born. 

The immediate objectives of the programme are to: 

  • facilitate the acquisition of international information and knowledge 
  • improve access to research through the promotion of national and regional journals. 
  • provide awareness or training in the use, evaluation and management of electronic information and communication technologies (ICTs); 
  • enhance skills in the preparation, production and management of journals. 

The first phase of the programme ran as a pilot from November 2000 - December 2001. A full programme began in January 2002. Countries are selected for participation in the programme using GDP and the Human Development Index - see the list of eligible countries. 

The objectives are being met by four interlinked and complementary activities: 

Component 1 Delivering information

In facilitating the acquisition of full text online journals, current awareness databases and document delivery INASP has been working with individual publishers, 'packagers' of information and consolidating subscription agents. The goal is for resources available through PERI to be affordable so that their acquisition is sustainable in the long term. INASP has been successful in negotiating differentially-priced country-wide access licenses at 90-98% discount.

PERI currently provides in excess of 8000 full text journals and many of the world's leading bibliographic and reference databases including those from Blackwells, CABI, EBSCO, Emerald, Gale, Institute of Physics Publishing (IoPP), Oxford University Press, OVID (Silver Platter), Springer, the Royal Society and Update Software. Negotiations with further publishers are ongoing.

In addition, attention is drawn to all those resources which are available without cost to researchers in developing countries: Document delivery is available through the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC). 

Component 2 Disseminating national and regional research

Dramatic changes are taking place in academic and library communities. The opportunities (and threats) offered by electronic information have implications for publishers worldwide, and it is important that both researchers and publishers benefit from the exciting possibilities offered by the Internet. In many developing countries electronic publishing has not yet been fully explored, although it could offer an important means of disseminating national and regional research findings. Through the PERI programme INASP is assisting the establishment of institutional, national and regional online services to enable the results of research undertaken and published locally to become more widely known and accessible. One successful model that has been developed is African Journals Online (AJOL): http://www.ajol.info, and similar initiatives in other regions are under development to increase worldwide knowledge of indigenous scholarship.

Component 3 Enhancing ICT skills

For university and research communities throughout the world, finding high quality, relevant information is becoming increasingly difficult and, at times, frustrating. The pilot phase of PERI confirmed requests from librarians and researchers for quality, relevant training in order to use the Internet, to utilise information available to them to its full potential, and to help them identify and evaluate other information sources. Extensive experience with partner institutions has led to the adoption of a locally facilitated 'travelling' workshop methodology (http://www.inasp.info/training/travelling-methodology.html) whenever possible for ICT training activities. This methodology has the following key characteristics:

  • expertly produced training materials developed with appropriate sector, subject and environmental knowledge and experience. The end result is a resource of high quality training and support materials 
  • 'Travelling' workshops' with regional and local facilitators: building local skills and capacity in both the subject area and training programme development and delivery 
  • single site in-country training: to help build a critical mass of trainees in each location who can ensure effective follow-up, support and training. 

The following workshop series are presently available through PERI: 

Component 4 Strengthening publishing

This component provides training and support for researchers, publishers and editors to enhance publishing skills, and includes

  • Facilitation of in-country or regional workshops to assist researchers and publishers to improve their publishing operations. 
  • A Publishing Partnership and 'Mentorship' Programme where PERI provides support for study visits and has arranged journal partnerships and 'mentoring' in collaboration with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). 
  • Development of resource materials including handbooks and manuals such as A Guidebook on Journal Publishing for Agriculture and Rural Development and Book Marketing & Promotion: A Handbook of Good Practice.

Component 5 Supports country collaboration and networking

Organising and providing access to the increasing information and knowledge base is proving to be far beyond the capacity of any single organisation. At the country level, various kinds of networking and cooperation mechanisms are emerging, seeking to ensure that locally-produced as well as 'imported' information is shared and used to its full potential. INASP operates a range of activities to promote and support country networking. Initiatives include the following.

  • Spaces for discussion and collaboration
  • Connecting knowledge and expertise
  • Negotiation and licensing skills for library networks

Component 6 Research and development

To support PERI and other INASP activities, we undertake research projects to investigate new methodologies for accessing, managing and using information, and methods of improving existing systems.

Recent projects have included:

  • Optimising bandwidth in research and higher education
  • Search tools for low bandwidth environments

Further information on PERI is available from Carol Priestley at  

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