Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No.1, January 1999

1999, Vol. 21
No. 1 (January)
..Chemistry in Africa
..News from IUPAC
..Other Societies
..Reports from Symposia
..Provisional Recommendations
..New Books
..Conference Announcements


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Chemistry International
Vol. 21, No. 1
January 1999

New Books and Publications

The COSTED Occasional Paper Series

This series is an effort towards influencing public policy in grappling with diverse and complex issues that cannot be ignored in the path to sustainable national development. The series addresses topics which have a bearing on science and technology and is specially targeted at policy makers and governments in developing countries. Each paper is authored by experts of international standing, with experience in and concern for development issues. Four papers are expected to be published annually and widely disseminated. Copies of these papers may be obtained on request to the COSTED International Secretariat.

The following publications can be obtained from the
COSTED Central Secretariat
24, Gandhi Mandapam Road
Chennai 600 025 India.

Tel.: +91 44 4901367
Fax: +91 44 4914543

1. Communicating with the Public, Politicians, and the Media

2. Global Environmental Good: A SocioEthical Compulsion in the 21st Century

3. Scientific Journal Publishing in the Developing World?

4. Gearing up for the Efficient Management of Intellectual Property Rights in the 21st Century

COSTED Occasional Paper No. 1:
Communicating with the Public, Politicians, and the Media

Juan G Roederer, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska -- Fairbanks. July 1998.

There is widespread concern about the low visibility of science and technology among the public and, more importantly, the decision makers. While the reasons for this concern may be attributed to cultural, political, and social factors, the fact remains that science and technology is a vital instrument that must be interwoven into the development agenda of every country, big or small, developed or underdeveloped. A recent survey by the International Council for Science (ICSU) revealed that more and more young people are opting for careers other than science. This could lead to an alarming scenario, where the practitioners and implementers of science and technology research would become a vanishing tribe.

Dr. Juan Roederer, Professor of Physics Emeritus at the University of Alaska, was invited to write this monograph for COSTED, recognising his long and rich experience in science policy and consultative status on science and technology for national governments in developing countries. He nurtures a deep concern for enhancing the voice and visibility of science, especially in developing countries, and believes that this is best done by targeting and influencing the younger generation.

This paper offers a set of guiding principles on the do's and don'ts for the practitioners of science while communicating with the public, the polity, and the media. Written in a delightfully practical style, the paper points out common misconceptions and attitudinal barriers towards making more effective use of science. This paper is a sincere effort to help scientists demystify science to the common man and to help decision makers harness the potential of this vital tool for human welfare.

COSTED Occasional Paper No. 2:
Global Environmental Good: A SocioEthical Compulsion in the 21st Century

Ranjan R. Daniel, July 1998.

The impact of human developmental activities on the earth's environment has received wide-ranging attention from the media, public, science and technology community, policy makers, government, and development and donor agencies. During the past quarter-century or so, no other issue has assumed such a global dimension and significance for the human race.

A number of landmark events aimed at checking and mitigating the effects of human activities on the environment have occurred. The Rio Conference, World Climate Research Program, the International GeosphereBiosphere Program and recently, the Kyoto Conference, have all examined the complex dimensions of environmental consequences. The human dimension of the problem has gained increasing visibility and concern.

Notwithstanding the systematization of scientific understanding of the earth system and its processes, of human impact on the environment, and the formulation of regulatory protocols, it is imperative to recognize an element of moral and ethical compulsion to maintain the environment for ensuing generations. This present paper focuses on this aspect.

Prof. R.R. Daniel, former Scientific Secretary of COSTED, has a rich and long experience in development issues and global environmental concerns. He spearheaded a number of national, regional, and local missions in enhancing awareness and preparedness to meet the challenges of these complex environmental issues. In this paper, Prof. Daniel recapitulates the global scenarios related to environmental concerns and the various developments and movements aimed at international and regional cooperation. He reviews international policy after the Rio Conference and advocates a new socioethical and moral compulsion for global well being.

COSTED Occasional Paper No. 3:
Scientific Journal Publishing in the Developing World?

Ana Maria Cetto, Instituto de Fisica, Universidad Nacional, Autónoma de Mexico. July 1998.

Scientific publications are a good indication of the intellectual effort of every science and technology community. It is popularly said that without publications science is dead.

Scientific publications serve as an instrument for information dissemination, as building blocks for furtherance of research, as the basis for scientific research and inquiry, and above all provide potential for application through technical and industrial innovation.

As in every other sphere, there is a yawning gap in the quantity of scientific literature that emanates from the developed and the developing countries. It is interesting to analyze why this is so; more importantly, the impetus for publishing in the developing world is not strong enough to reflect the results of scientific effort in the printed form. At the same time, there is a significant volume of undocumented knowledge and wisdom handed down to the generations by word of mouth. In the present era of competing intellectual property rights and the exploitation of knowledge for wealth generation, this issue gains a special relevance and importance.

Prof. Ana Maria Cetto, a Senior Professor of Physics at UNAM, Mexico and former Vice Chair of the COSTED Executive Committee, has a deeply committed association to the cause of strengthening scientific publications in the developing world. She has organized several activities aimed at enhancing the visibility, quality, quantity, and the impact of scientific publication emanating from the developing world. In this paper she surveys the status of scientific publications around the world and the distinct disparities in the developing world. As a typical example, she examines the critical issues that confront the Latin American region and recommends examples of initiatives to strengthen scientific publishing.

This publication is most timely and appropriate and is aimed specifically at developing countries that possess enormous science and technology manpower and research efforts, but are unable to translate all of them into the printed media. It is hoped that the book will serve as a guideline for scientific institutions, regional bodies, and policy makers on the importance of documented information for economic application and industrial innovation.

COSTED Occasional Paper No. 4:
Gearing up for the Efficient Management of Intellectual Property Rights in the 21st Century

N. R. Subbaram, Consultant (IPR), with contributions from G. Thyagarajan, Scientific Secretary, COSTED. July 1998.

In recent years many countries have liberalized and globalized their economies. Many countries, like India, are in the process of opening up their economies. Consequently, new competitive pressures have arisen in these countries, particularly the developing countries. The definition of competition itself has now undergone a change. It is being increasingly acknowledged that the competitiveness of an enterprise and its ability to capture the market depends largely on its ability to manage the "internal" environment for developing innovative technologies. Furthermore, technology is also increasingly becoming a valuable commercial or tradable asset and a dominating factor in determining competitiveness.

In order to develop newer technologies and promote inventiveness, it is essential to invest heavily in research and development (R&D). Investment costs in R&D are also increasing rapidly along with the competitiveness. Protection of the results of R&D gains importance under the circumstances.



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