Journal Access

In 2010, the AAPS investigated whether its members are eligible for free or low-cost access to journals that publish material in the field of planning research. The exercise showed that institutions located within ‘low-income countries’ (as categorised by the United Nations or World Bank) often enjoy free or low-cost access to major journals, particularly those associated with development themes. However, a survey revealed that many AAPS members are unaware of the journal access opportunities available to them.

At the time, the AAPS secretariat produced a report detailing the journal access options available to its members (downloadable here).

This page is intended to inform AAPS members of the available schemes to access journals free or at low cost, and to help them make use of these resources. The available options are discussed according to three categories: direct online access, indirect online access, and open journal directories.

Direct online access

Occasionally journal access is fully or partially subsidized by external organizations. Direct access schemes include online journal databases such as OARE, HINARI and AGORA. Planning schools must register with the relevant website in order to gain access to these journal databases.

Local, not-for-profit institutions in two groups of countries, areas, or territories may register for access to the publications through OARE, HINARI and AGORA. The country lists are based on four factors: Total GNI (World Bank figures), GNI per capita (World Bank figures), United Nations Least Developed Country (LDCs) List, and Human Development Index (HDI).

  • Eligible categories of institutions are: national universities, research institutes, professional schools, government ministries and other government offices, libraries, public media, and local NGOs. All staff members and students are entitled to access the information resources.
  • If your institution is in a Group A (free access) country, then OARE, HINARI and AGORA are free. If your institution is in a Group B (low-cost access) country, OARE and AGORA costs US$ 1,000 per institution per calendar year (from January through December), while HINARI costs US$ 1,500 per year. All institutions registering from Group B countries are entitled to a six-month trial without payment.
  • If your institution is in a Group B (low-cost access) country, and you cannot or choose not to pay the annual fee, your institution will still be eligible for free access to a small number of information resources.

Most AAPS member schools are located in Group A countries, which means that they are eligible for free journal access. Click here to check which group your country and institution falls under.

Accessing these resources requires an institutional username and password. Both are provided once your institution has registered with OARE, HINARI or AGORA. Once you have this information, it should be possible to access the journal databases from anywhere in the world. In other words, access is not mediated by IP address recognition.

Click on the links below to access these databases:

Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE):
The OARE database hosts the greatest number of journals that are relevant to planning and development themes.

Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI):
Although this database is dedicated to issues surrounding human health and medicinal sciences, it does provide access to several planning- and development-related journal titles.

Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA):
The AGORA platform has a focus on agricultural topics, but like HINARI it hosts several relevant journals.

Indirect online access

Open or subsidised journal access may be mediated through third-party organizations such as national library consortia or international scientific or educational networks (for example, INASP or EIFL). These organizations negotiate with journal publishers and aggregators (such as EBSCO or JSTOR) to secure free or low-cost journal access for their members. Your institution must be a member of the third party negotiator in order to take advantage of these types of agreements.

The following schemes may be of use for accessing planning and development-related journal content.

{slider-sub Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Low Cost Journals Scheme|closed}

In 2002 the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) launched the Low Cost Journals Scheme (also known as the Protecting the African Library Scheme within Africa) to assist member universities in Commonwealth developing countries secure access to high quality print copy journals at an affordable price, while still offering some return to publishers.

The scheme enables libraries to order print copy journals through the ACU, typically at a discount of around 75–80 per cent (25–20 per cent of the original cover price).

How the scheme works

  • The ACU undertakes the publicity for the scheme to the universities concerned, takes orders and collects and passes on payments to publishers (payments can be made by cheque or, with prior agreement from the ACU, by direct bank transfer or with UNESCO coupons).
  • Once it receives an order endorsed by the ACU, the publisher simply dispatches the journal to the university in the normal manner.
  • Publishers may, at their discretion, make further offers involving back issues of journals, thus helping to ensure continuity of supply.
  • Discounts are generally only applicable to new subscriptions for print journals.

Eligible countries

To be eligible for the scheme, the university must be situated in one of the countries listed below and be a member of the ACU. The following two rates of payment are available through the scheme:

  • Band A Rate: Publishers offer their journals to ACU member universities in the following countries at either the individual subscription rate, or another rate equivalent to 20–25 per cent of the normal institutional subscription, plus distribution charges at cost (or exempted): Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland
  • Band B Rate: In countries in the lowest rank of the United Nations Human Development Index (2003), the Band A rate can be reduced further where possible (in some cases to 10 per cent of the list price): Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

To check if your institution is a member of ACU, click here. Information on ACU membership criteria and how to join the Association is available here.

If you are interested in taking part in the scheme, but have not done so previously, please see the details on how to participate. A list of participating publishers offering journals through the scheme is also available.

{slider-sub International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP)}

The International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) is an international development charity working with a global network of partners to improve access, production and use of research information and knowledge, so that countries are equipped to solve their development challenges. INASP negotiates with publishers across many disciplines to provide researchers and libraries in developing countries with the journals, books and databases that they need at affordable prices. INASP also works with universities, research organisations and their associated library consortia to help build their negotiation and licensing skills. The resources offered include both subscription-based and open access titles.

INASP provides a range of materials and resources for a variety of training activities. These training materials are available for download free of charge. Click here for more information.

In addition, through INASP’s subscribed resources registration system, you can gain access to research including thousands of peer-reviewed e-resources from over 50 international publishers and aggregators. In order to access these resources, your institution must be eligible and fall within an INASP partner country. Select your country from the drop-down list on the right-hand side of this page for more information on what resources are available in your country, and to check if your institution is currently registered with the INASP system.

To access the subscribed resources registration system, you will first need to login to your account. If you do not have an account, you can apply for one through the login page.

Information on institutional eligibility to register with the system is available here. For information on how to access the available e-resources, click here.

{slider-sub Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL)}

Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) works in collaboration with libraries in 19 African countries to enable access to knowledge for education, learning, research and sustainable community development. Many African universities will enjoy access to a wide range of journals, databases and e-books through this scheme, provided they are members of an EIFL-affiliated national library consortium.

Visit this webpage and click on your relevant country to learn more about EIFL’s work in your country, to check if your institution is a member of an EIFL-affiliated library consortium, and to see what e-resources have been negotiated for national consortium members.

Open journal directories

Open journal directories are websites dedicated to hosting a range of open access journals, providing free access to all users without the requirement of institutional registration. Such websites include DOAJ, AJOL and HighWire.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) website hosts various journals related to development and planning (click here to view some the available titles), not all of which are published in English.

African Journals Online (AJOL)

The African Journals Online (AJOL) site hosts open journals that are published in Africa. Relevant titles include the following:

HighWire Press

HighWire Press is a leading ePublishing platform that partners with independent scholarly publishers, societies, associations, and university presses to facilitate the digital dissemination of more than 3,000 journals, books, reference works, and proceedings. The website grants free journal access to members of the World Bank’s list of ‘low-income economies’. For more information, and a list of journal titles freely available to institutions in developing economies, click here.

No sign-up or registration is required for the HighWire platform: access is granted automatically based on the geographic location from which the site is viewed.

Although HighWire predominantly hosts medical and biological titles, some potentially relevant journals for AAPS members are available, such as:

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is a discovery service for peer-reviewed books published under an open access licence. DOAB provides a searchable index to the information about these books, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository.

Directory of Open Access Resources (OpenDOAR)

The Directory of Open Access Resources (OpenDOAR) aims to provide a comprehensive and authoritative list of academic open access repositories for end users who wish to find particular archives or who wish to break down and view repositories by locale, content or other measures. Users can also search for repositories by region.