HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative) is a programme in which many leading biomedical publishers, working closely with the World Health Organisation, allow free or very low priced online access to more than 2000 key biomedical research and healthcare journals. Announced by the Director General of the WHO in July 2001, Phase 1 went live in January 2002 followed by the second phase in January 2003. It is entirely voluntary and fulfils the urgent need in developing countries to access published research in biomedicine and healthcare. HINARI also aims to assist in the publication of research conducted in the developing countries both in local journals and in the international literature. The programme is comprehensive, targeted to specific institutions, independent of funding, available to more than 100 countries, technically simple, based on co-operation with the National Library of Medicine and Yale University, and hopefully, fully sustainable.