MOOCs help researchers and librarians in developing countries access the latest scientific information

Published: Wednesday 15th July 2020

In new online courses, Research4Life users are finding the information they need to improve life in low-income countries

Health workers take a Research4Life course taught by Lenny Rhine in Papua, New Guinea – the final workshop before the pandemic. (Photo by Stephen Jnr Taera for Research4Life)

Dr. Lenny Rhine is used to being on the road. A retired librarian from the University of Florida, he’s been working with Research4Life as a trainer for 13 years. Lenny leads the Librarians without Borders (LWB) program, which the Elsevier Foundation supports, and has conducted more than 70 workshops around the world.

His work continues in changing times. Now, he’s giving weekly webinars to hundreds of researchers and librarians from the least developed countries through massive online open courses (MOOCs), making sure they can still benefit from the latest and best information.

Transversing the globe from Georgia to Bhutan, from Myanmar to Cairo, Lenny and the Research4Life team have given workshops for medical practitioners, university librarians, and professionals from NGOs and government organizations. Research4Life workshops deal with all aspects of information literacy; despite gains in research access, researchers in low-income countries still face a significant struggle in getting professional training to make the best use of new resources.

In November, Lenny flew to Papua, New Guinea, for what turned out to be the last in-person training, at least for a little while. He welcomed over 40 participants from key health-related organizations in the region of Port Moresby, the capital, showing them how to find evidence-based medical resources and teaching practical exercises on how to write a scientific paper.

“Participants immediately started thinking of how their colleagues or students could benefit from the access to Research4Life,” Lenny said. “This awareness was a very pleasant surprise – such a different situation since I was there the first time 10 years ago!”

Read the full article on Elsevier Connect: “MOOCs help researchers and librarians in developing countries access the latest scientific information“, Domiziana Francescon, 15 July 2020.