Elsevier: Supporting Higher Education, Science, Technology and Global Competitiveness Globally by Partnering with the World Bank

For over 140 years, Elsevier has supported more than 1,000,000 global scientific and ELS_Logo_Orange_RGBacademic communities in their pursuit for new and verified scientific knowledge through access to peer-reviewed content, strategic research management tools, and capacity-building activities that promote and celebrate world-class science.

Over the last 12 years, Elsevier has closely collaborated with partners such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Dutch Organization for Internationalization in Education (NUFFIC) to support activities in emerging economies to enhance higher education and research, develop better science and technology, and improve local competitiveness. These efforts have allowed Elsevier and, specifically, the World Bank, to co-launch several regional and country initiatives and research metrics and evidence to contribute to promotion of discussions on research investment and collaboration.

World Bank and Elsevier partner to inform regional research policies:

Focus on driving research collaboration across South Asia.
In March 2019, Elsevier and the World Bank launched a joint analytics report, “Challenges and Benefits of Research Collaboration in South Asia”, in Colombo, Sri tweet FMLanka. Government agencies, universities, and private sector representatives from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan engaged in policy discussions and provided positive feedback on the insights and recommendations of the report.

Data and analysis from Elsevier combined with World Bank policy recommendations help enable greater research collaboration within South Asia, understand the benefits and implications for South Asian countries, and identify opportunities to optimize knowledge transfer within the region.

Report Findings:

  • South Asia published just under 700,000 scholarly publications, or 5.3% of the world’s output, in 2012-2016. The region’s output and citation impact are smaller than world average on a per-researcher basis, but are relatively high vis-à-vis their gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD).
  • South Asia’s scholarly output is growing rapidly. Between 2012 and 2016, South Asia’s share in global scholarly output rose by 8% annually, reflecting a broad increase in publications among South Asian countries.
  • Most South Asian countries are internationally-dependent; with the exception of India and Pakistan, at least half of their publications result from international collaboration. Most of these collaborations tend to be extra-regional, with relatively limited activity within South Asia itself, and are focused on topics of physics and medical research.

SA research collaboration network

Focus on accelerating STEM research in Sub Saharan Africa.
In 2014, Elsevier and World Bank co-published “A Decade of Development in Sub-Saharan Africa in STEM Research.” This report led to collaborations and engagement opportunities under the $300M Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project (ACE) by the World Bank. Project proponents like the Association of African Universities (AAU), the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), and 46 universities in 16 countries across Central and Western Africa were invited on a competitive basis to submit proposals to train local and regional Master students and PhDs, conduct world-class research, and measure the impact of their efforts through peer-reviewed publications, and collaboration with industry. Elsevier’s data and analytics solutions, combined with publishing workshops, provided opportunities for leading universities in Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Cote d’Ivoire to improve capacity to meet human capital and research objectives such as: enhancing research quality in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Agriculture, and Health and increase the number of internationally published peer-reviewed articles. The World Bank continued to fund succeeding phases of the ACE Project: countries in Eastern and Southern Africa including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mozambique in 2016, additional countries in Central and Western Africa, including Guinea and The Gambia, in 2019.

Higher Education and Research Initiatives at a Country Level

Fast-growing and diverse countries like Peru, Ethiopia, and Vietnam have increased their domestic investments in R&D to enable a more dynamic research and innovation ecosystem. Similarly, Jordan, India, and Uzbekistan have utilized budget support from partners like the World Bank to enhance their research initiatives. Elsevier, working with these development partners, has developed cost-effective engagement models to enable researchers, academics and students to access world-class information and research management tools and achieve significant economies of scale and scope.

  1. In India, the Consortium for E-Resources in Agriculture (CERA) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research enjoyed access to Elsevier’s database of peer-reviewed scientific literature to enable the information needs of over 145 university and government research centers. According to the World Bank in 2015, since the start of the project in 2009, CERA members have published more than 420 research papers in high-impact peer-reviewed international journals, filed 186 patents/intellectual property protection applications, and produced 273 agriculture processing technologies.
  2. In Peru, an initial pilot led by the National Council on Science and Technology (CONCYTEC) and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) supporting 13 public R&D institutes led to a national consortia developed with World Bank co-financing to support over 1,500 scientists in 30 universities and over 10,000 students today.
  3. In Uzbekistan, all public universities, through support from the World Bank to the Uzbek Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education, gained access to Elsevier’s content databases and research management tools in 2018. This project built on prior best practices and processes jointly-developed between Uruguay’s National R&D and Innovation Agency (ANII), the World Bank and Elsevier between 2008 and 2013.

In Conclusion

With pressure to stay ahead of the expected challenges of Industry 4.0, as well as the urgency to demonstrate a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, Elsevier is dedicated to collaboration with the World Bank, national and regional governments, and other partners to enhance local research, and academic and industry ecosystems. Elsevier’s data, insights and capabilities provides universities, governments and international funders the evidence to benchmark national performance, identify collaboration trends, and monitor researcher mobility – all of which can help inform policy efforts, as well as R&D funding allocation priorities.

For questions and comments, please contact: Josine Stallinga j.stallinga@elsevier.com.