2023 Annual Report


Rima Kuprytė, Director of EIFL

This year marks the end of our 2021 – 2023 strategic plan. We are happy to report strong progress in achieving our goals for the period as we work towards our new plan for 2024 – 2026.

We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the EIFL Open Access Programme this year, and we are delighted to feature the programme’s results and impact on opening up research and removing obstacles to sharing knowledge over two decades. Our plans for the next three years include more open science policies, infrastructures, training and support for no-fee open access (OA) publishing (known as Diamond OA).

Through the EIFL Licensing Programme, we paid special attention to removing financial barriers to publishing OA articles in journals that charge Article Processing Charges (APCs). By 2023, we had 14 agreements with publishers, allowing authors in EIFL partner countries to publish in OA for free or at discounted APCs. From 2021 – 2023, according to reports from these publishers, eligible authors published almost 5,000 OA articles saving over 6.2 million USD in APCs.

The Licensing Programme also continued to negotiate with publishers for affordable access to e-resources that were well used by scholars in partner countries. The annual average number of downloads of full-text articles, e-books and e-book chapters during the period 2021 – 2023 was over 7 million. We will continue our efforts to reduce financial barriers to paywalled content and publishing in OA.

The EIFL Copyright and Libraries Programme advocates for the adoption of copyright laws that maximize access to content. We participated in copyright law reform processes in 10 countries from 2021 – 2023, among them, Nigeria, which adopted a new copyright law in 2023. EIFL’s analysis of the Nigerian law shows it to be one of the most progressive in the world with respect to provision of access to knowledge through libraries. We will continue to support national copyright law reform in partner countries.

The EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme made a significant impact on ICT infrastructure improvement in public and community libraries in Uganda, and on librarians’ skills. We completed a two-and-a-half-year project that trained librarians in 27 libraries to become ICT trainers, and they trained over 22,000 people in communities across Uganda to use computers and the internet. The project attracted donations of digital equipment from the public and private sectors benefiting 34 public and community libraries. Next year, we will seek to identify partnerships in other countries in Africa in order to develop similar projects.

Thank you to everyone — our partners, our funders, board members and staff — who helped us achieve our goals and objectives over the past three years. We look forward to working with you in the next period.

Our vision is a world in which all people have the knowledge they need to achieve their full potential.


EIFL worked in 37 developing and transition economy countries. Here are key achievements in relation to our three main goals.

Advance the transition from paywalled to open access content

2 countries and 5 institutions adopted open access and open science policies mandating deposit of research output in repositories

14 agreements available for free / reduced-price open access publishing

1446 authors benefited from the agreements, publishing 1746 articles in open access, saving a total of US$2574893 in Article Processing Charges

Foster digital transformation of public library services

27 Uganda public libraries reached 10500+ people introducing them to ICT and building their digital skills

360+ vulnerable women and youth in Uganda completed online courses in libraries learning knowledge and skills to increase their incomes and improve their lives

Uganda training wins recognition - 260 computers donated to 18 public and community libraries

Support research, teaching and learning

Released a 3 rd edition of the ‘EIFL Digital Research Literacy Training Programme Outline for Librarians’

136 open science trainers trained

15+ open access repositories and journals improved

Supported ratification and domestication of the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities in 5 countries


Using knowledge to change their lives and the lives of others


* Marika Meltsas, Estonia


* Viola Obiru, Uganda


* Zorica Janković, Serbia


* Dr Desmond Oriakhogba, Nigeria



“The library exceptions in the Copyright Act, 2022 are modelled on EIFL’s Draft Law on Copyright. EIFL can be proud of the impact they are making in Africa.”

Nigeria’s Copyright Act, 2022, adopted in March 2023, is one of the most progressive in the world with respect to libraries.

EIFL was active in the lawmaking process — providing inspiration for the library provisions, commenting on the draft text, and writing to the President of Nigeria urging its early adoption. Dr Oriakhogba presented EIFL’s comments on the draft law at a public hearing organized by the Nigerian Senate in 2021.

“The new Copyright Act captures the essence of copyright — it rewards and recognizes creators while ensuring fair access to creative works by the public. The strong body of limitations and exceptions create a very broad space for librarians to carry out their daily work without fear of being sued for copyright infringement,” says Dr Oriakhogba, “for example, the right to make and distribute copies for education and research, people with print disabilities (Nigeria ratified the Marrakesh Treaty in 2017), and preservation (essential for out-of-print, damaged and valuable materials).

“The law also voids licence terms that might limit these library rights, a very important element to support librarians not familiar with the intricacies of copyright and contract law,” continued Dr Oriakhogba.

“Now libraries should take full advantage. The Copyright Commission of Nigeria has started to raise awareness of the new law, and EIFL’s guide, ‘What can Libraries in Nigeria do under the 2022 Copyright Act?’, is an excellent resource.”

Find out more about EIFL's Copyright and Libraries Programme



“I learnt how to integrate real-life examples into my training. After the bootcamp I invited a scientist who practices open science methods to speak to one of my training groups, from a scientist’s perspective. This worked really well.”

After almost 10 years of providing open access and research data management training for researchers, Zorica Janković realized that she needed to learn new open science training methods and to find new training tools.

“Our researchers need training to help them understand how open science practices attract new collaborations. There is a fear of openness. They also need to understand the importance of research data management (RDM) planning, which is one of the central components of open science.

“I was trying to get these messages across in my training sessions with groups of up to 10 researchers. But in each group I could see at least one person was not convinced. And that is why I joined the EIFL Open Science Train-the-Trainer Bootcamp.”

The EIFL bootcamp took place online, in November 2023, and ran over five half days. The invitation targeted open science trainers — librarians, research support staff and other professionals — in EIFL partner countries. A total of 52 trainers from 19 countries took part.

“The training was very good for me,” said Zorica. “It was organized in a way that was completely new to me. There were games to arouse interest, to help scientists overcome their trust issues, to solve problems and to believe in open science as a positive innovation. And the training materials have been really useful.”

In December 2023 Zorica was selected to be part of a team of trainers for a RDM workshop for researchers and librarians of major research institutes in Serbia. The workshop drew on the training methods and materials tested during the EIFL bootcamp. The workshop participants now have ambitious plans for the future, including an open science bootcamp in Serbia and developing a self-paced course on open science in Serbian.

Find out more about EIFL's Open Access Programme



“EIFL has set standards for negotiations and agreements with publishers to ensure our scholars have the maximum access to the resources they need for research and education.”

EIFL’s partner library consortium, the Consortium of Estonian Libraries Network (ELNET), is currently the only organization conducting central negotiations for affordable access to e-resources for all of Estonia’s six public research universities and seven universities of applied sciences, as well as all publicly-funded and evaluated research institutions.

ELNET joined the EIFL network in 1999, and is one of EIFL’s oldest partners. “Some years ago, most of the e-resources (research databases, online journals, e-books) were negotiated by EIFL. But today, out of the 30 e-resources available through ELNET, just three were negotiated by EIFL. Access to the other 27 e-resources we negotiated with publishers ourselves,” says Marika Meltsas.

Marika attributes ELNET’s success in negotiations to EIFL. “We learnt how to negotiate through EIFL’s training and resources. For me, the best training has been practical, in which we have the opportunity to interact with publishers. In our interactions with publishers we are guided by EIFLs principles for negotiations, and EIFL’s model agreements.”

The e-resources are very well used, says Marika. “Over 80% of content used by scholars at the institutions that ELNET covers is still behind the paywall, so the content that we negotiate and can make accessible in the most cost-effective way is valued by our members.”

Recently, ELNET has begun entering into Read & Publish (R&P) agreements with publishers. R&P agreements provide access to scholarly journals while at the same time allowing authors to publish in open access for free or at discounted Article Processing Charges (APCs).

In 2023 ELNET had five R&P agreements. “We are watching trends to see how these R&P agreements impact open access publishing at our member institutions,” says Marika.

Find out more about EIFL's Licensing Programme



“I bring my trainees to the library for digital training, so that they can also take online courses, to learn and be more secure in future.”

Young, unemployed and worried about her future, Viola Obiru from Koboko town in Uganda jumped at the opportunity to learn digital skills at her local library.

“I heard about the training from a friend and I was desperate to learn digital skills, because now everything is digitized. And I hoped the training would help me to find work.

“I was very committed — I attended daily three–hour sessions, Mondays to Saturdays, for three months. Peterlee, the librarian, was an inspiring and supportive trainer,” says Viola.

Koboko Public Library was one of 27 libraries that participated in the Digital Skills @ Your Local Library project, implemented by EIFL and partners in Uganda from 2020 to 2023.

The project built librarians’ digital and training skills so that they could offer ICT training in their communities and connect learners to online courses. The libraries trained over 22,000 people in basic digital skills; in addition, 1,500 people completed online courses in entrepreneurial and technical skills, craft-making and other subjects, learning in groups facilitated by librarians.

Viola became a team leader for the library’s trainees. “My role was to encourage the class to learn. One method I used was an online quiz. To compete, the trainees had to give answers to the questions via email.”

After completing her ICT training, Viola took an online course in tailoring, using the library’s computers. She is now employed as an instructor at an industrial training centre, providing tailoring training to women. “I also have a small business producing clothes and empowering vulnerable girls and women — orphans, early school leavers and single parents — so that they can become independent like me.”

Find out more about EIFL's Public Library Innovation Programme

“EIFL’s unique ability to work with their national library consortia in over 35 developing and transition countries allows the organization to facilitate the open sharing of the wealth of research produced to create a global research commons, one of the greatest ambitions of the open access movement.”

- Melissa Hagemann, Budapest Open Access Initiative


Celebrating 20 years of the EIFL Open Access Programme

20 years of EIFL-OA in numbers

19 national and 189 institutional open access and open science policies

1200+ open access repositories

4100+ open access journals

312900+ people trained from 2004 - 2023

Contribution to the global OA movement

Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) — original signatory

Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) — founding member

Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) — founding member

OpenAIRE AMKE — founding member

Open Access Week — founding member

EIFL was among the original signatories to the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) that coined the term open access (OA), and in 2003 we launched the Open Access Programme (EIFL-OA) to take forward the BOAI vision. We take pleasure in sharing a history of how we have worked with our national and international partners to open up research and remove barriers to sharing knowledge.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our 20th Anniversary celebrations, and thank you to Arcadia, the European Commission, Open Society Foundations, SPIDER (the Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions) and Wellcome for supporting the EIFL Open Access Programme over the years.

Building a culture of Open Access and Open Science

“EIFL is the true global leader in promoting open and equitable access to knowledge in developing and transitional countries. Their work sets the standard for effective open access advocacy, and has resulted in millions of individuals gaining access to critical information.” — Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC, which co-organizes Open Access Week in partnership with the OA Week Advisory Committee.

“Before any major change in open access could take place, an understanding of the evolution, meaning, and importance of the practice had to be taught,” recalls Anna Chulyan, Director of the National Library of Armenia, and EIFL Country Coordinator in Armenia.

Our early work focused on advocacy, awareness raising and training. Our aim was to foster a culture of OA and open science in our partner countries, and to build the knowledge and skills needed to develop OA policies and to set up OA infrastructures — the open repositories and open journal platforms needed to enable OA to research outputs.

In July 2004, we organized our first OA event, a national workshop in Pretoria, South Africa. We followed this with workshops in Lithuania and www.eifl.net Poland, reaching policy-makers and academics in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the next two years, we intensified our advocacy and awareness raising efforts, with events in several more countries, including Bulgaria, China, Serbia and Slovenia.

We organized a regional OA event in South Africa in 2006, for nine Southern African countries. In 2007 we organized the first OA event in West Africa, with participants from Ghana and Nigeria; our work in eastern Africa began with national workshops in Ethiopia in 2008 and Kenya in 2010.

The impact of these events was profound. Agava Stanislaus, National Secretary of the Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium (KLISC) and University Librarian at the National Intelligence and Research University College, recalled the impact of the 2010 workshop in Kenya: “The workshop sparked the interest and curiosity of researchers, students, university administrators, journal editors and librarians from institutions across Kenya. It facilitated the sharing of knowledge and insights about the potential of open access, setting the stage for the transformation that was to follow,” he says.

With growing confidence, our national library consortia partners began conducting advocacy and awareness raising campaigns at their own institutions.

We encouraged libraries to join in International Open Access Week celebrations. The first OA Week was co-organized by EIFL in 2009, and OA Week has become an annual celebration for the international OA movement. Every year we receive news of creative celebrations in our partner countries.

The importance of Open Access and Open Science policies

“EIFL’s open access programme has had a significant impact since it began 20 years ago, leading to the adoption of OA policies and implementation strategies in many institutions across the global South and other regions.” — Leslie Chan, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

We recognized early on that policies would be the key to establishing OA as the norm in our partner countries. And so, from the start, we provided advice on policy to universities, research organizations and funders; we participated in policy discussions and offered policy guidelines and templates.

Although policy development and adoption processes take time, there has been remarkable progress in our partner countries. At the end of 2017 we celebrated a policy milestone — 100 national and / or institutional OA policies adopted. Today, just six years later, that number has almost doubled, to 189.

In 2021, UNESCO’s 193 member states formally adopted the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science — the first-ever international standard for open science. EIFL participated in the development of the Recommendation through an inclusive global consultative process, and Iryna Kuchma, EIFL-OA Manager, was one of 30 international experts appointed by the UNESCO Director General to serve on the Advisory Committee that prepared the draft recommendation.

The Recommendation has sparked the revision of existing policies as well as the formulation of new ones, and we expect many more open science policies to be adopted in our partner countries in the coming years.

“EIFL has been an instrumental partner in developing the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and is at the core of the global efforts focusing on its implementation,” says Ana Peršić, Programme Specialist, Open Science, Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, Natural Sciences Sector, UNESCO.

Establishing Open Access infrastructures

Open access repositories

“EIFL has been a valued partner, both in terms of bringing diverse voices into the COAR working groups, but also helping to convene the right players around the table in different countries to progress open access policies and repository infrastructure.” — Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR).

In 2005, with support from EIFL, the University of Zimbabwe launched the first institutional OA repository in the EIFL network. Today 13 institutions in Zimbabwe have OA repositories. “It has become standard practice that students’ theses and dissertations are deposited in the institutional repositories,” says Blessing Chiparausha, Librarian at Bindura University of Science Education and EIFL OA Coordinator in Zimbabwe.

In 2008, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) launched an institutional OA repository, the first in Ghana and in West Africa. “When EIFL first became involved in Ghana in 2003, institutional capacity for sharing and publishing research in OA in Ghana did not exist,” recalls Richard Bruce Lamptey, Librarian at the College of Science Library at KNUST and EIFL Country Coordinator in Ghana. Since 2008, OA in Ghana has flourished, and today there are 27 institutional OA repositories.

In many countries, establishment of just one institutional OA repository produced a snowball effect. By the end of 2008 there were over 100 OA repositories in EIFL partner countries, disseminating half a million research publications. By the end of 2017 there were over 1,000 repositories, providing OA to millions of research publications.

The most commonly used repository software in our partner countries is the free and open source software, DSpace. To help repository managers, administrators and librarians to maintain and improve their DSpace repositories we developed (and regularly update) a checklist, ‘How to make your OA Repository Work Really Well’.

Open access journals

“EIFL has facilitated the development of thousands of open access journals and repositories, as well as influenced policy- making at a national and international level. DOAJ also benefits directly from EIFL’s expertise and advice through their participation in our Council.” — Joanna Ball, Managing Director, Directory of Open Access Journals, (DOAJ).

In 2003, print was the predominant mode of publishing in our partner countries. Very few journals were published online or in OA.

Among the first of our partner countries to launch an OA journals portal was Serbia, where EIFL-supported advocacy and awareness raising workshops led to the launch of an OA journals portal at the National Library in 2005.

By 2016, the number of Serbian scholarly journals that were freely available online had grown. However, the transition to e-publishing was incomplete — Serbian OA journals were basically traditional print journals with online versions, often in PDF format, recalls Milica Ševkušić, librarian at the Institute of Technical Sciences of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and EIFL OA Coordinator in Serbia. To address this situation EIFL supported a 10-month project, working with our partner library consortium, KoBSON, and the National Library of Serbia.

“This project improved the quality of publishing practices and raised awareness of the importance of journal policies, Creative Commons licences and meeting the standards needed for inclusion in international directories, for example, the DOAJ,” says Milica.

Today, 400 Serbian journals are published in OA, with over 200 listed in the DOAJ. “For local scholarly publishing open access is the default option. Usage statistics reveal that the content in Serbian is read all over the world, as well as that scholarly works are used beyond narrow academic circles, which encourages researchers to open up their publications,” says Milica.

In 2021 we funded projects in five countries (Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya and Lesotho), improving the skills of journal publishers, editors and managers, and increasing and improving OA journal publishing. To increase visibility and accessibility of journals and to enhance their reputation, we encouraged good practices to ensure that journals would be eligible for indexing in international directories.

To support journal publishing, we produced (and regularly update) the ‘EIFL checklist of good practices in using Open Journal Systems software (OJS) for journal editing and publishing’.

Open Access and Open Science training

“EIFL has played a significant role in developing Open Access capabilities globally, fostering intercultural understanding, and establishing collaborative learning environments.” — Natalia Manola, CEO, OpenAIRE

Over the past 20 years, EIFL OA and open science training have reached over 300,000 scholars, researchers, research administrators, librarians, journal publishers and editors. To ensure the future sustainability of OA and open science training we have trained trainers and contributed to the development of courses, manuals, guides and toolkits that are freely available online.

From 2014 to 2019 we led and coordinated the training for the EU-funded FOSTER (Facilitating Open Science Training for European Researchers) project, working with project partners. The training reached 14,000 people, mostly early career researchers, in 41 countries. Among the achievements of the FOSTER project was the development of a portal with a wide range of e-learning and training resources.

We also co-chair the Training and Support Standing Committee in OpenAIRE, which launched OpenAIRE Open Science Train-the- Trainer Bootcamps in 2022. The committee developed the OpenAIRE online training platform and material, which EIFL has used for its own bootcamps. In 2023 EIFL-OA organized two five-day open science train-the-trainer bootcamps for librarians, research staff and others who were delivering or planning to deliver open science training. The bootcamps were extremely popular — 136 trainers from across EIFL’s network enrolled — and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“The training enhanced my knowledge and skills in open science and in developing training materials on open science. I intend to use what I learnt for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students,” said a participant from Mzuzu University in Malawi.

“This bootcamp has provided me with valuable knowledge and an opportunity to take a fresh look at the training we offer to the university community,” said a participant from the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania.

EIFL-OA also encourages the development and integration of open science and research data management (RDM) in university courses for postgraduate students.

In Lithuania, with a grant from EIFL, Kaunas University of Technology Library developed an accredited online RDM course for PhD students.

In Estonia, the University of Tartu, and several other universities, academic libraries and research organizations now offer courses in open science and open data. “These courses demonstrate the institutions’ commitment to fostering open science and research data management skills among PhD students. Based on feedback, it can be emphasized that early career researchers are very willing to practice open science,” says Elena Sipria-Mironov, librarian at the University of Tartu Library and EIFL OA Coordinator in Estonia.


EIFL income and expenditure 2023

    Programme income 2,350,599 71.3%
    Participation fees 544,447 16.5%
    General Support 371,772 11.3%
    Sponsorship, interest and other income 28,772 0.9%
Total 3,295,590
    Programme delivery 893,759 88.1%
    Personnel & contracted expenses 100,034 9.9%
    Operating expenses 20,047 2.0%
Total 896,947
    Committed expenditure for 2024 to 2026 programme delivery 2,267,091
    Continuity reserve 284,190



We would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support for our work in 2023.

  • Arcadia Fund through the American University / Washington College of Law, and the Creative Commons Corporation
  • Bibliothek & Information Deutschland (BID)
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • European Commission Erasmus+ Programme through Lviv Polytechnic National University, Ukraine
  • European Commission Horizon 2020 Framework Programme through OpenAIRE AMKE
  • European Commission Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON)
  • Internet Society Foundation through TechSoup Global
  • LEGO Foundation
  • Open Society Foundations
  • University of Luxembourg (UNILU)
  • Wehubit Programme (implemented by the Belgian development agency, Enabel)


EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) is an international not-for-profit organization that works with libraries in developing and transition countries to enable access to knowledge for education, learning, research and sustainable community development.


EIFL works in collaboration with libraries in 54 developing and transition countries.


Meet our Staff, Management Board and Network.


EIFL has built relationships with a wide range of organizations to make knowledge more accessible. See the list of partners we worked with in 2023.


In 2023, EIFL organized, supported or took part in 94 events, workshops and conferences about issues that affect access to knowledge.


* Cover photo: A mother participates in ICT training offered by Mbale Public Library (Uganda) in 2023 as part of a project supported by EIFL.
* Vision: Ivan Eduardo Triana Bohoquez, Director General at Fundación Biblioseo in Colombia, gives an ignite talk at Dokk1, Aarhus City Library, Denmark, in May 2023. The library won an EIFL Public Library Innovation Award for Enabling learning through play.
* EIFL Director: Photo by Augustinas Žukovas for EIFL.
* Spotlight: Photo by Shashank Pradhan for EIFL.
* Meet the people: Photo by Augustinas Žukovas for EIFL.
* Zorica Janković: Photo by Maj Blatnik (NUK).
* Viola Obiru: Photo by Royal Shots Photography for EIFL.

Get Social with us