In 2014, DFID commissioned an evaluation of online research portals and repositories, focused on four portals and repositories supported by DFID: Eldis, R4D, SciDev.Net and GDNet.
The purpose was to investigate how policymakers and practitioners access and make use of research, and how well DFID-funded services meet those needs.
The review included an online survey, and in depth consultation with users in Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria. It found that policy actors make extensive use of online sources but with limited time and IT facilities tend to prefer generic search tools such as Google and content that is well presented and easy to digest. Repositories play an important role in collecting information, but their content need to be more easily discoverable via general online search tools.
INASP was contracted to advise on the development of the survey tools, and to provide expert review and quality assurance to the final reports.