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[FORTALEZA] A Brazilian researcher has used the results of a survey of scientific publications to argue that Brazil must produce and keep more scientists in its Amazon region.

Adalberto Val told the 57th annual meeting of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science, held last week in Fortaleza, that only 22 per cent of research papers about the Brazilian Amazon published in the first four months of 2004 were by local researchers.

Val, a researcher of the National Institute of Amazon Research, analysed scientific papers collected in the 'CAPES gateway', an online resource maintained by the Ministry of Education that includes more than 9,000 journals.

Of 452 papers on the Amazon region published between January and April 2004, only 100 were by Brazilian researchers.

Val says the results reveal a loss of Brazil's sovereignty over the region.

"The only way of being in control of the Amazon region is to study and know the area," he says.

In Val's opinion, the best way to address the problem is to create strategies to increase the number of researchers with PhDs in the region.

"There are about 1,000 PhDs in the Amazon region, which represents 60 per cent of the Brazilian territory," Val told SciDev.Net.

In contrast, about 30,000 people in the south-east of Brazil have PhDs.

"In 2004, about 8,000 students got their PhD degree in Brazil," said Val. "We need to find ways of attracting more people with PhDs to the Amazon region and encouraging them to stay and work there."

About 15,000 people attended the Fortaleza meeting.