The Agora (Greek: Ἀγορά, Agorá) was an open "place of assembly" in ancient Greek city-states. Early in Greek history (900s–700s BC), free-born male land-owners who were citizens would gather in the agora for military duty or to hear statements of the ruling king or council. Later, the agora also served as a marketplace where merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods amid colonnades. From this twin function of the agora as a political and commercial space came the two Greek verbs αγοράζω, agorázō, "I shop", and αγορεύω, agoreýō, "I speak in public". The word agoraphobia, the fear of critical public situations, derives from agora in its meaning as a gathering place.
The Forum was the Roman equivalent of the Agora.
AGORA is the acronym for the Access to Global Online Research on Agriculture program. It was started by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with a number of publishing partners to provide developing countries access to scientific information on food, agriculture, environmental science and related social sciences.
There are over 1278 journal titles available to institutions in 107 countries. AGORA is part of Research4Life, the collective name for three programs - HINARI (focusing on health), AGORA (focusing on agriculture) and OARE (focusing on environment).
The AGORA program, its sister programs and their publishing partners have committed to continuing the initiative until at least 2015.
The AGORA program was launched in October 2003 with FAO and nine founding publishers: Blackwell Publishing, CABI Publishing, Elsevier, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, Springer-Verlag, and John Wiley & Sons. Other key partners include Microsoft and Cornell University. Currently a total of 39 publishers participate in AGORA and provide journal content.
When launched, AGORA provided access to 400 journals. As of March 2010, the initiative has increased to providing access to over 1278 journals.
The development has been in two phases: Phase I, occurring in 2003, allowed access to 69 countries. Phase II increased this by allowing around 30 additional countries access at low cost.
Currently, AGORA provides access to those countries as agreed by the publishers, based on certain critera. The eligibility for each country is based on GNI per capita as provided by World Bank figures. Therefore, institutions in countries with GNI per capita below US$1250 (Band 1) are eligible for free access. Institutions in countries with GNI per capita between US$1251 and US$3500 (Band 2) pay a fee of US$1000 per year per institution.
The eligible countries are therefore determined by the publishers themselves.
Due to publishers' market interests and business plans, not all developing countries are eligible, as in some of these countries, the publishers have significant levels of existing subscriptions. Some of these countries include South Africa, India and China.
Critics[who?] find problems with the use of GNI as a criterion, however. China, for example, is a large developing country facing an information divide, which is not reflected by the GNI. In large cities and coastal areas of China, per capita GNI can be four times that of the poor localities, yet poor 'local' researchers cannot get low-price access because China as a whole surpasses the baseline criterion.
AGORA, originally, in primitive times, the assembly of the Greek people, convoked by the king or one of his nobles. The right of speech and vote was restricted to the nobles, the people being permitted to express their opinion only by signs of applause or disapproval. The word then came to be used for the place where assemblies were held, and thus from its convenience as a meeting-place the agora became in most of the cities of Greece the general resort for public and especially commercial intercourse, corresponding in general with the Roman forum. At Athens, with the increase of commerce and political interest, it was found advisable to call public meetings at the Pnyx or the temple of Dionysus; but the important assemblies, such as meetings for ostracism, were held in the agora. In the best days of Greece the agora was the place where nearly all public traffic was conducted. It was most frequented in the forenoon, and then only by men. Slaves did the greater part of the purchasing, though even the noblest citizens of Athens did not scruple to buy and sell there. Citizens were allowed a free market; foreigners and metics had to pay a toll. Public festivals also were celebrated in the open area of the agora. At Athens the agora of classical times was adorned with trees planted by Cimon; around it numerous public buildings were erected, such as the council chamber and the law courts (for its topography, see Athens). Pausanias (especially vi. 24) is the great architectural authority on the agorae of various Greek cities, and details are also given by Vitruvius (v. 1).