Cuba has a disappointing history of research collaboration with other countries because of limited funds and travel restrictions imposed by the United States. And many of its scientists have moved overseas, tempted by greater resources and funding.
But the Internet could be used for mutual benefit, say Rodolfo J Stusser and colleagues in the British Medical Journal. They propose creation of online research networks that would allow Cuban professionals to contribute to US research without having to leave and weaken their institutions. At the same time, Cuba's scientific capacity would be strengthened and US scientists would be able to actively support Cuban research.
Funding could initially come from the Cuban government and US non-governmental organisations or UN agencies, they say. But a variety of social and legal barriers would need to be overcome, and Cuba would need to adopt the latest Internet and communication technologies.
Reference: British Medical Journal 328, 1209 (2004)