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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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
The following workshop series are presently available through PERI:
This component provides training and support for researchers, publishers and editors to enhance publishing skills, and includes
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.
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.
Further information on PERI is available from Carol Priestley at
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