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An overview of the most asked questions during the December AGORA Alumni Webinar series


On 3, 4 and 5 December, the AGORA Team at FAO organized a series of  webinars for the 2018 Alumni of the online course “Fundamentals of Information Literacy and Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture - AGORA”. The webinar aimed at sharing experiences on the use of the AGORA platform after the course and help solve any problems or reply to any questions the users might have.

During each session, two facilitators of the AGORA Team were available to answer questions. In order to  share the exchanges with the wider AGORA and Research4Life community, the questions and answers provided during the three webinars were summarized and translated.


Interested to know what the main questions in the sessions were? You can read an overview of the discussions and questions asked during the December AGORA Alumni Webinar Series in English, French and Spanish, below.


Useful links and email addresses


  1. Research4Life website: www.research4life.org

  2. Research4Life information on registration and registration form: https://www.research4life.org/access/howtoregister2/

  3. Research4Life training portal: https://www.research4life.org/training/

  4. Research4Life helpdesk: r4l@research4life.org

  5. Register for Research4Life Newsletter: https://us9.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=5002dae3992cb80ea5a0b5d41&id=a4c5a4f990

  6. Acces to the R4L programmes: login.research4life.org

  7. AGORA website: www.fao.org/agora

  8. AGORA helpdesk: agora@fao.org

  9. AGORA Dgroups: https://dgroups.org/fao/agora




  1. How can I know if the institution I work with is registered for Research4Life (R4L) or not?

Are you part of an academic institution? Then you can check if your institution is registered in this list: https://www.research4life.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Research4Life-Academic-Institutions.pdf

Are you part of another type of institution: ask your librarian or IT focal point. If you are still in doubt write to r4l@research4life.org

  1. What are the steps to register an institution and how long does the process take?

Only eligible institutions from eligible countries can register. Please check the eligibility of your institution here: http://www.fao.org/agora/eligibility/en/

If your institution is eligible please read the instructions on the Research4Life website and fill out the registration form with all necessary details: https://www.research4life.org/access/howtoregister2/

Once you have submitted the form, it will take around 2 weeks to complete the registration The director or responsible person from your institution will receive an email with a user’s agreement. Once finalized, a username and password will be shared with the contact persons listed in the registration form.

If you have questions on the process please contact r4l@research4life.org

  1. Can I register as an individual?  

No, an individual cannot register to R4L. Registration is institutional and restricted to eligibility of the country and type of institution. More info on eligibility can be found at : http://www.fao.org/agora/eligibility/en/

  1. What do I do if I don't have access to the username and password to enter R4L?

First step would be to ask your librarian as they are the focal points for most institutions. They should be able to help you. If they do not know, or there is no librarian in your institution, please write to r4l@research4life.org

  1. How can we best manage the use of the username and password within our institution?

Librarians are mostly designated as focal points for the AGORA programme and they can share the username and password with all members of the institution. To facilitate access, the institution can also choose to register an IP, which can enable automated access from any computer using the institution’s network. (See question 6)

  1. How can I activate IP recognition in my institution?

First ask your IT focal point to register the IP of the institution in the IPRegistry (theipregistry.com). If you do not know what the IP of the institution is you can check it from a computer on the institutional network using the following website whatismyip.com. Registering in the IPRegistry is a necessary validation step before R4L can register the IP. Once registered in the IPRegistry, send your request for IP registration to r4l@research4life.org and you will receive a notification when the process is completed.

  1. I don't know the programme GOALI. What is it about?

The new programme managed by the International Labour Organization (ILO)  providing free or low-cost online access to legal research and training in the developing world. GOALI is a public-private partnership among ILO, as a UN agency, together with Brill Nijhoff, the International Training Centre of the ILO and academic partners Cornell Law School Library and the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School.  Users can access academic and professional peer-reviewed journals, publications and databases in selected subject areas of law from the world’s leading academic publishers. Access and further information is available at www.ilo.org/goali or email goali@ilo.org




  1. What are the topics covered in AGORA?

AGORA is the R4L programme that focuses on all aspects of agriculture in a large scale. This includes: food, agriculture, aquaculture, environmental science and related social sciences.

  1. Can I find agricultural statistics in AGORA?

No there are no statistics in AGORA. AGORA  provides access to scientific peer reviewed literature. For agriculture statistics you can consult FAOSTAT: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home

  1. Why do I not have access to the full text of an article?

There can be several reasons why you have no access to the full text of an article

  1. You are not logged in to Research4Life;

You can check if you are connected on the top right hand side of the portal where it says Logged in from: name institution/country.

  1. The journal you are trying to access is excluded from the access you have in your institution and in your country;

This can happen when you use the generic Summon search. The results of the generic Summon will include references to all documents in Research4Life, including the ones excluded in your country.
To verify the list of publications available in your country check here:  http://agora-journals.fao.org/content/en/country_offer.php

  1. The link between the portal and the website of the publisher has changed or is broken. In this case please write to agora@fao.org to report the error. Include as much detail on your search as possible as well as screen shots.




  1. What is the difference between Summon and a Country Specific Summon?

The generic Summon search bar, that you will find on the main page of the AGORA portal, searches the entire Research4Life database for references corresponding to your keywords. It does not take into account the limitations of the publications available to your institution and country. Using Country Specific Summon will only give results that give access to the full text of the articles. It takes into account the exclusions.

  1. Why does my country not appear on the list of Country Specific Summon? What should I do? The R4L team is currently working to develop Country Specific Summon solutions for all countries, which will be available soon. Other countries will be developed during 2019. In case your country does not appear on the list, you can use the generic Summon on the main page of the platform. Don’t forget that this may be the cause why not all results give access to full texts.

  2. Why do I do not have access to full-text articles using Summon?

This can happen when you use the generic Summon search. The results of the generic Summon will include references to all documents in R4L, including the ones excluded in your country.
To verify the list of publications available in your country check here:  http://agora-journals.fao.org/content/en/country_offer.php

It is also possible that the link between the portal and the website of the publisher has changed or is broken. In this case please write to agora@fao.org to report the error. Include as much detail on your search as possible as well as screen shots.


Capacity Development


  1. How can I be informed about upcoming trainings or webinars?

To stay informed check the AGORA website on a regular basis: www.fao.org/agora , and enroll in the Research4Life newsletter: https://us9.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=5002dae3992cb80ea5a0b5d41&id=a4c5a4f990 , or become a member of our AGORA network on Dgroups: https://dgroups.org/fao/agora  

  1. How can I enroll for the next edition of the AGORA Online Course?

The next course in English will take place from the 4 to 15 February 2019. You can register by filling in the following online form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YD59ST7   

The course will also be organized in French and Spanish.

Register here for French (11 to 22 February): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YFXZGXF

Register here for Spanish (18 February to 1 March): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/28VYSPD

  1. Are the online courses certified?

Yes, at the end of the online course you can download a certificate of attendance if you obtain a minimum score of  60 percent in the final exam.

  1. Where can I find more information on reference management tools such as Zotero and Mendeley?  

More information on reference management tools can be found on the Research4Life trainingportal: https://www.research4life.org/training/

  1. Can I request for a face-to-face training or a specific training for my University? AGORA strives to organize as many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) possible to reach a wide audience and allow as many users as possible to benefit from the training. You can enroll a group of interested people of your institution and take the course together. When you enroll as a group each person needs to register individually. If you inform us on agora@fao.org , we would be happy to know who took the initiative and which group is participating.