Tying up lions: Multilateral initiative on malaria communications: The first chapter of a malaria research network in Africa

Julia Royall, Mark Bennett, Ingeborg Van Schayk, Martin Alilio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


"When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion" (Ethiopian folk adage). The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Communications Network (MIMCom) facilitates a new way of doing research in Africa and African scientists' participation in the international scientific community. The MIMCom supports full access to the Internet and the resources of the Worldwide Web at 19 research sites in 11 African countries. Furthermore, the MIMCom project comprises two websites: one includes links to resources, databases, and publications as well as a document delivery service for full text journal articles, and the other is a research agenda specific website with a server for a research network desiring to share raw data. Other important components of MIMCom are training and evaluation components. The MIMCom was conceived in 1997 by African researchers and has been designed, implemented, and overseen by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in collaboration with partners in Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This project demonstrates clearly that it can make a positive difference in the functioning of remote research sites in Africa, in terms of site growth and productivity and in the professional lives of individual researchers. This report reviews the project's background, methods of operation with an emphasis on local needs and priorities, cost effectiveness, and local responsibility; results focusing on a technical network; documentation of the system and two-way exchange of information; the MIMCom website; a network approach to research; and financial sustainability. The report concludes with summaries of evaluations by an independent panel, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Secretariat, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-267
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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