The Arab world is lagging in its scientific development. A recent survey showed, for instance, that many medical journals in Arab countries are of low quality, lack peer review and are not integrated into international databases such as MEDLINE.
In this article, Ehab Abdelrahim M. Ali of the Arabisation Centre for Medical Science in Kuwait says the poor standing of Arab science is closely linked to language. In most Arab countries, medical training is done largely in English. Not using Arabic to teach science subjects is a barrier to learning, which is more efficient when the mother tongue is used, he says.
Ali says international scientific literature, including textbooks, should be translated into Arabic, and that Arabic reference books such as scientific dictionaries and encyclopaedias should be produced. He stresses the importance of Arab nations cooperating on these initiatives and the need for consistency in the choice of Arabic translations of foreign terminology. Rather than isolating the Arab world, they would enhance communication between Arabic scientists and their colleagues abroad, he says.
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