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Am Fam Physician. 2008;78(3):299

In April, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) introduced a restricted access policy for American Family Physician and Family Practice Management content on its Web site. The policy grants exclusive access to the most recent year's worth of content to AAFP members and those who subscribe to the journals. The AAFP recognized that this access control policy could cause some inconvenience to our international colleagues in institutions in developing countries who have limited access to reliable medical information and cannot afford subscriptions.

In an effort to reach out to the international family-medicine community and other health care professionals in developing countries, the AAFP has arranged to make the journals available through the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), a public-private partnership sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). “We think this is the right thing to do,” said Jay Siwek, MD, editor of AFP. “In fact, we know it is, based on comments we receive periodically from family physician colleagues in developing countries around the world. They value their access to AFP, which sometimes is one of the few medical reference resources available to them.”

HINARI was developed in the framework of the Health InterNetwork, which was introduced by the United Nations in 2000. The goal of HINARI is to strengthen public health services by giving public health workers, researchers, and policymakers easier access to high-quality, timely, and relevant health information via the Internet. HINARI provides free or very low-cost online access to more than 3,700 major journals in biomedical and related social sciences to local health sector institutions in developing countries. A list of the journals provided can be found at Users of HINARI can search and access full-text articles available thorough HINARI directly from the PubMed database. Presently, 2,000 institutions in 106 countries are registered for HINARI. The HINARI interface is maintained by WHO, with support from the Yale University Library.

Local health sector and medical education institutions that are eligible to have access to the HINARI network include national universities, research institutes, professional schools (medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, dentistry), teaching hospitals, government offices, and national medicine libraries. All members of a registered institution (researchers, teaching and administrative staff, and students) and its visitors are entitled to have access to the journals. HINARI accepts registrations from institutions only, not individuals.

HINARI Publisher Partners have classified eligible countries as Phase 1 (free access) or Phase 2 (low-cost access) based on the gross national per capita income of the country. Institutions in Phase 2 countries who cannot or choose not to pay the annual fee are still eligible for free access to a certain number of journals. The AAFP is among the publishers that offer their journals to both Phase 1 and Phase 2 countries free of charge. Additional information on eligibility and a list of Phase 1 and Phase 2 countries are available at

Details regarding HINARI registration and the registration form can be found at For more general information on the HINARI network, visit

Please send your feedback on HINARI, its accessibility and usability, or any difficulties you encounter accessing the Academy journals to Alex Ivanov, AAFP International Activities Office (e-mail:; telephone: 800-274-2237 for calls within the United States or 913-906-6000 for overseas calls, ext. 4510).

More About Online Access

It is important to note that only the most recent year of AAFP journal content is restricted and approximately 90 percent of AFP content is still available to all online readers. The restricted access period expires approximately one year after each issue is published, at which time that content is made available in the public area of the AAFP web site. For example, this issue of AFP will be made available to everyone online at the end of August 2009.

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Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.