Cross-posted from 'Evidence-Informed Musings', blog of SASIANCC Director, Dr. Prathap Tharyan.
The national provision for country-wide access to The Cochrane Library in India has just been renewed for a further three years. This will provide millions of people in India continued free access to the best available evidence on the effects of healthcare interventions. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) released the first installment of funding for a three-year national license on April 30th, and the period of the license will begin from when the previous subscription ended in December 2012.
People in India continued to enjoy one-click free access from January to April 2013 due to the largesse of the publishers, who ensured continuity in the availability of this valuable resource, since the ICMR had indicated willingness to continue this subscription. People in India have now had uninterrupted access to the full contents of The Cochrane Library since 2007, except for a brief period in 2010, when access was halted for nearly a month due to delays in renewal of the national license. Usage took a full six-month period to build up to what it was before free access was stopped. Fortunately, freedom to access reliable evidence to inform health decisions did not stop at midnight on March 31, 2013, as I had earlier feared would happen.