tact and sharing by scientists in non-industrial nations with scientific colleagues in other countries can be extremely limited. Although there have been some notable efforts on the part of organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and UNESCO to provide scientists in developing countries with printed copies of scientific data and information,57 much more could and should be done to improve such sharing of information. The committee therefore recommends that until affordable and ubiquitous electronic network services are available, national and international scientific societies and foreign aid agencies should establish or improve their existing efforts to send extra stocks of scientific publications to libraries and research institutions in developing countries that need them.

Training and Education Considerations

The governments of most countries recognize that education, particularly higher education, is vital for the creation of a solid national base for scientific endeavors and economic growth. The poorest nations typically send their students abroad for advanced education and specialized training, often in applied disciplines deemed most useful upon the students' return. Following completion of their postgraduate education and research abroad, however, a large number of these highly skilled scientists do not return to their home countries, effectively negating for the home country the immediate broader benefits of their training. 58 Many of these countries cannot provide a sufficiently supportive environment, including the necessary research infrastructure and funding, to attract and keep scientists. Further, lack of ready access to current information leads to professional obsolescence. The "brain drain" from the poorer to the wealthier nations is a serious constraint to the generation of new knowledge in the developing countries.

In addition to the limitations of the available data management and communications technology, training in the use of available technology is limited as well. The growing sophistication of both hardware and software tends to make their use more efficient and eases the training burden in some ways, but it increases it in others. Basic functions of the computer system are becoming increasingly automated. However, the functional power of the systems increases the demand for and use of more complicated techniques for management, analysis, and dissemination. An important related problem is a lack of adequately trained personnel for servicing such complex equipment.

At the most basic level is the lack of instructional support for the neophyte computer user. For example, in courses taught under United Nations auspices on topics such as use of computers in microbiology, the students in developing nations overwhelmingly request supplemental training in the use of computers for data management and analysis, and in on-line access to data and information resources. Generally speaking, much more instructional outreach in basic computer data management and communication skills is needed.59



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