Brussels, 31 July 2002
The gap between scientific publishing activity in the developed and developing world is increasing, according to a letter published in the journal 'Science'.
The letter, from Carolina Perez-Iratxeta and Miguel A Andrade, both from the European molecular biology laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany outlines a study conducted by the two researchers into the number of scientific papers published in the developed and developing world, and recent trends in these figures.
'The differences between First, Second, and Third Worlds are easily seen in a 10-fold difference in the amount of articles published per inhabitant,' write the authors.
More significantly, a comparison over time 'yields a disturbing result.' Most countries with low levels of publication are also publishing fewer and fewer papers, meaning that the gap between developed and developing countries is widening.
'Scientific funding agencies worldwide should take this into account. [...] Projects that train scientists from developing countries and help create research groups in those countries must be promoted, because we feel that scientific development will bring these countries socio-economic development and because the global scientific community cannot afford to waste the intellectual capacity of developing countries,' write the authors.
As highlighted by Ms Perez-Iratxeta and Mr Andrade, this negative publication trend is worrying as scientific activity 'not only reflects today's wealth, but also promises future wealth through the practical application of the scientific knowledge generated.'
To see the letter, please consult the following web address: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/f ull/297/5581/519b?ijkey=FzZFGMgfcBfdY&k eytype=ref&siteid=sci