The Scientific Indian

Priya Shetty writes at New Scientist.

Why? For a start, research published in international journals might not be relevant to the needs of individual countries. For example, academics specialising in mental health, such as Vikram Patel at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, have argued that India’s cash-strapped mental health services should offer access to community health workers and not just specialised psychiatrists and psychologists, but such debates seldom make it into the pages of international journals.

Furthermore, by developing the research culture, local health journals can empower societies to be more engaged in the way healthcare is administered. Such involvement might have avoided the appalling failure of the WHO’s polio vaccination campaign in northern Nigeria in 2003, which fell apart after widespread panic caused by fears that the vaccine was contaminated with HIV. And in non-anglophone countries, journals in the locally used language can provide a useful channel by which to publicise local research that has appeared in international journals – typically in English.

Indeed. Know what else they(we) need? A popular science magazine that’s excellent in science and gloriously local, and in vernacular. Not many around that I know. In fact, I know no science magazine comparable to, say New Scientist or SEED, in India.


  1. #1 Sunil
    July 18, 2008

    Selva…..while I agree with the sentiment, it is a bit of a demand-supply problem. There have been a few attempts at nice science magazines for the lay reader interested in science (Resonance, published by some IISc folks comes to mind), but there are few takers for it. There has to be a broader appreciation for science (which can start with newspapers taking their science sections more seriously……just compare any Indian newspaper science section with that of the NYT or Guardian or Telegraph and you’ll see what i’m saying. The Hindu does relatively the best job out there). Once there is a readership for popular science articles, there’s a slim chance that a popular science magazine might survive. Till then, fat chance.

  2. #2 selva
    July 18, 2008

    You hit the nail on head when you said “broader appreciation of science”.

    Once a few months I rummage through Resonance website. It’s not aimed at lay audience, sadly. However, I do usually find a few fun articles.

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