Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Chinese science communication goes mobile


[SHANGHAI] From this week, residents of the Chinese city of Shanghai will be able to improve their science knowledge by reading text messages sent to their mobile phones.

The Shanghai Association of Science and Technology (SAST) is running the 'Messaging Science' initiative with technical support from the Shanghai Communications Administration and three major telecommunications companies in the city.

Chen Jifang, SAST's vice-president, says the increasing popularity of text messages in China means that sending them could have a much bigger impact than traditional methods of science communication such as exhibitions.

SAST spent six months preparing the initiative, calling on its 100,000 members in Shanghai to contribute interesting science facts based on published information.

Zhu Hui of SAST's public science education department says that the scientists, university students and others have provided nearly 2,000 messages so far in 20 categories including biology, aerospace, weather and health.

Professional science writers have edited the messages to make them more interesting, readable and, in some cases, humorous.

The aim, initially, is to send 30 free messages on diet, nutrition and exercise to about 30,000 SAST members during the two-week Spring Festival, which starts on 27 January. SAST hopes the recipients will forward the information to their friends and family.

The association will use a survey to assess the response to the first set of messages, including how frequently they were forwarded.

It will also encourage Shanghai citizens to contribute new messages to the programme, and has plans to award a prize for the best message at the city's annual Science and Technology Festival in May.

The test batch will be sent to members with mobile phones from the three companies participating in the scheme: Shanghai Mobile Communications Co, and China Unicom Group Shanghai Co and the Shanghai Telecommunications Co.

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.