PARTICIPANT: What kind of planning is Pakistan doing for the next decade?

DR. ATTA-UR-RAHMAN: In my speech, I mentioned that I was asked by the government to prepare a national roadmap. We prepared a 15-year roadmap for Pakistan. The plan was divided into three 5-year periods, for planning purposes, so that we can generate employment, transition to a higher value-added economy, and use our most important resource, our youth, for future development. We have had some serious problems in the last two and a half years, with the new government facing many financial constraints and freezing some of these programs, but the new education policy, which was approved by the present government, promises a fourfold increase in the budget for higher education and science-related disciplines. If that materializes, I hope that things will start changing again rapidly.

PARTICIPANT: One of the things that seismologists hear from their colleagues in Africa and South America is that the mineral exploration industry often hires their best students, who then do not go into academia. That is quite surprising to us in the United States, because here it is regarded as a good synergy that industry and academia work together, and it contributes to the strength of academic programs. I am wondering what is your view about this sort of back-and-forth of students going into industry?

DR. ATTA-UR-RAHMAN: The problem in Pakistan and many other developing countries is that we do not have strong private-sector research and development partnerships. Most of our institutions do not have research facilities. What worries us is not students being taken away by local industry. I totally agree that we need to have synergy and interaction, but they are being taken abroad, and we are losing a valuable treasure that we have. For that, we have to create the enabling structure that I talked about—the research facilities, the salaries, and so on. They do not have to work in any government institution, as long as they come back and work in Pakistan. It could be in the private sector. So our problem is a different one. For innovation to flourish in a country like Pakistan and other developing countries, you need to have a number of things in place. This includes ease of doing business, access to venture capital, intellectual property right regimes, presence of technology parks, legal infrastructure, and the provision of greater incentives for private-sector research and development so that innovation can take off. All these measures have to come together before the development, innovation, and entrepreneurship can take place. That is still largely missing in Pakistan and in most other developing countries.

PARTICIPANT: I would like to address one of the points you made regarding the volume of publications emerging from the developing world as a share of the world total. You mentioned that it had risen from, I think, 21 percent to 32 percent. This assumes that the actual database of publications that is being counted is a constant, and it is not. Since 2005, the Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge has quite dramatically changed the volume of publications that it accesses from developing countries, which is a very important change. For example, the number of South African journals that are indexed has gone up nearly threefold. The same is true of Brazil. I took the liberty of looking at the numbers for Pakistan during your talk; there were only two Pakistani journals on the Science Citation Index in 2005. That rose to 14 in 2010. So without detracting from the achievements of ourselves in the developing world, we need to be sure that we benchmark correctly.

DR. ATTA-UR-RAHMAN: What I was talking about was not the number of scientific journals that are published from these countries. The two journals that you are talking about are the two journals from

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement