Friday, April 30, 2010

If there were an organisation of Sceitntists

Budget is coming on 20 Jun for the year 2010-2011. Different organisations arranging discussion on budget and expressing their expectation and making recommendations.

Never found in the past that any organisation was arranging such discussion on behalf of scientists or researchers and making recommendations. In spite of that, last year the govt doubled the allocation for science and research. There should have some review of the allocation from a thirdparty /organisation whether it was double in reality or there was any mispresentation of the figure. If the allocation was really doubled, was it utilized and has made any noticeable improvement? Or doubling money has just doubled the wastage as the efficiency of our research organisations in utilizing the resources is very poor ? Should not we take account of all these issues? Govt should have some mechanism to get feedback on how their invested or allocated money performing in research organisations. Similary professional scientists should also speak out how much more money they need to make the ensure the utilization of the allocated money, what other than money they need to utilize the money , where they need reform for efficient use of the money .

If there were an organisation of Sceitntists that would speak about the expectation of scientists in the budget and give feedback on how the 100% increase in last budget was utilized or abused or wasted or brought improvement , Bangladesh could make progress at a better pace.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How are the mirrors reflecting scientific status of Bangladesh?

Friends are mirror for each other. If we want to know someone and he is not available for contact and who will not be free and frank in front of us, then having contact with his friends we can have some idea about him. What are the mirrors of the scientific status (status of scientific research and technology development) of a country? Aren't Scientific journals, research organizations and professional organizations of scientists the mirror looking at which we can have idea of the scientific status of a country? The scientific status of a country is well reflected in the regularity, quantity and quality of scientific journals published from that country, performance of research organizations and vision, mission and dynamism of professional scientists’ organizations.

If we look at regularity, quantity and quality of our scientific journals, we can easily find out what’s the status of our country. Very few journals are published regularly due to lack of money and lack of enough articles. Quality of articles are not that much high. Hence we have only 5 indexed journals with small number of articles per year.

Source: http://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?area=0&category=0&country=BD&year=2008&order=sjr&min=1&min_type=cd

If looking at the performance of our research organizations, that also shows the similar poor status. There are hardly any research organizations researchers of which feel proud to say that I am a researcher of this or that organization. If you talk with the top people of the largest research organizations of the country, they will speak about the service they are providing , not about research as they have hardly any research achievement to speak about it .

If we all look at the professional scientists’ organizations, we can not be happy also. These organizations have no mission statement, no vision and performance evaluation. Different people come to the leadership at different times. Do something sporadically. These organizations hardly organize their annual conference regularly. Researchers are hardly enthusiastic to present their paper in these conferences. If these professional organizations had long term goal and vision, they could have done much for the professional groups and the country. In such case, new executive committee would have some pre-assigned and planned work other than organizing annual conference and forming new committee. For example, antibiotic is an over abused drug in Bangladesh.
This over abuse causing huge harm to our economy and national health. There should have policy to minimize abuse of antibiotics. But neither the government nor people are aware of it. Some relevant professional groups should make plan and program to make the govt adopt and implement proper policy and people aware of harm from sporadic use of antibiotics. This is an example for those professional scientists’ associations/societies who know well about the harm of antibiotic abuse. Every professional group can find some such task that needs long term campaign and lobbing for good policy and its implementation. Campaigning for such cause can be regarded social responsibility of professional scientists’ associations/societies. From this they will be benefited as corporate organizations benefited from their corporate social responsibilities.

However, what is the best and most reflective mirror of the scientific status of a country? Isn’t it the Academy of Sciences of that country? Vision, mission and dynamism and influence of The Academy of Sciences of a country are reflected in the science policy and research funding and performance of the research organizations of that country. Looking at scientific status of our country, what perception we get about the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS)? How was it (a mostly unknown organization to the science graduates of the country) doing in the past? Not satisfactorily. Can we be hopeful from the present movement of BAS? May be as it has become an active organization recently. It has organized Young Scientists Congress for the first time in last December and declared to organize it every year. It has also organized science Olympiad and will organize such program regularly at school level. It has been awarding researchers for long though it is not possible for what contribution the researchers are awarded from the website of BAS (www.bad.org.bd).


However, Bangladesh Academy of Sciences have to go long way, needs more movement, strategically and effectively, to make Bangladesh perform satisfactorily in scientific research and technology development. Because no other organizations have such influence on the government that BAS can exert on govt science policy shaping and funding.

Some one, some body needs to be regularly critical of BAS so that it exerts its ability and influence on government for science and technology in Bangladesh.

References
SCImago. (2007). SJR — SCImago Journal & Country Rank.
Retrieved April 12, 2010, from http://www.scimagojr.com
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