The Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) program provides free online access to major scientific and technical journals to local, not-for-profit institutions in least-developed countries and low-cost access to industrial property offices in developing countries across the world.
ARDI was launched in 2009 by the World Intellectual Property Organization in cooperation with 12 major publishers - American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Institute of Physics; Elsevier; Institute of Physics; John Wiley & Sons; Oxford University Press; National Academy of Sciences; Nature Publishing Group; Royal Society of Chemistry; Sage Publications; Springer Science+Business Media; Taylor & Francis – to encourage innovation and assist developing countries in bridging the knowledge gap.
Access to scholarly literature is critical to the innovation process, as it represents an important source of scientific and technical knowledge and thus complements the information contained in patent documents. Particularly in fields such as biotechnology and organic chemistry, much of the most recent and relevant information is contained in science journals and similar publications, which are therefore indispensable for understanding the current state of the art.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) already provides access to a rich source of scientific and technological information to be found in patents through its PATENTSCOPE Search Service. The accessibility and retrieval of scientific and technological information in journals complements and extends these search possibilities. Indeed, in certain technical fields, such as biotechnology, medical technology and computing, scientific and technical journals often provide the most relevant and recently available knowledge.
ARDI has been developed in close cooperation with similar programs already established by certain UN agencies in their respective field of activity:
In 2001 the World Health Organization (WHO) together with 6 major publishers - Blackwell, Elsevier Science, the Harcourt Worldwide STM Group, Wolters Kluwer International Health & Science, Springer Verlag and John Wiley - set up the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) enabling developing countries to gain access to biomedical and health literature. Today around 90 publishers provide access to over 6000 journals.
In 2003 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) followed WHO in setting up its own corresponding program Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) relating to agricultural literature.
In 2006 the United National Environment Programme (UNEP) established its program Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) relating to environmental literature. Both AGORA and OARE provide access to over 1300 journals to developing countries.