Eldis celebrates twenty years of global knowledge sharing

Published on 12 January 2016

2016 heralds an exciting year for IDS. Not only are we marking our fiftieth anniversary, but one of our longest running projects, Eldis, celebrates its twentieth year as a global online information service.

Eldis provides free online access to global research about international development, with a particular focus, in recent years, on increasing the visibility of research from smaller research producers. Eldis currently works directly with over 70 global research organisations, mostly in Asia and Africa, many of which are also IDS research partners.

Back in 1996 the internet itself was still relatively new – many research organisations, even in the UK, still didn’t have websites or even internet access, Google wouldn’t emerge for another couple of years, concepts like social media didn’t exist and technologies like smart phones were still more than a decade away. So Eldis was considered highly innovative in its support for free online access to global research about international development.

Supporting the visibility and use of research evidence through technical and editorial innovation has stayed very much at the heart of the Eldis mission as it has continued to evolve in a rapidly changing online (and offline) world.

Supporting the development sector

Today Eldis continues to provide a much valued and highly trusted service sharing diverse research knowledge for development policy and practice (a quick glimpse at their top features in 2015 illustrates the timeliness and relevance of its content). It’s a globally recognised brand with more users in Africa and Asia as it has in Europe and the US.

The projects most recent external evaluation for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation stated: ‘The Eldis team are to be congratulated on the development and delivery of an outstanding knowledge service. Eldis occupies a significant share of the global knowledge market for development…and has a very good reputation.’

But of most importance to the Eldis team, and the thing they plan to celebrate in this twentieth anniversary year, is the wider contribution the project has made in supporting the development sector through the partnerships, shared learning and people that have been part of the Eldis project over the years.

Continued commitment to delivering open content

Eldis has been a long term advocate of Open Access publishing and, before that even, the idea that research knowledge should be considered as a global public good. In recent years this commitment has led Eldis to focus on making research content available under open licenses for others to repackage and reuse in their own services. The work of the Eldis team and others in this area has informed IDS’s 2015-20 strategy ‘Engaged Excellence for Global Development’ which commits us to supporting an open knowledge agenda that harnesses digital innovation to connect evidence to real change. So as we start the year, we extend our thanks to the Eldis team and partners and look forward to your continued support in 2016 and beyond.

The team have a number of activities planned to celebrate their anniversary year so subscribe here to be kept up to date.

Key contacts