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Modern communications technologies — in particular the Internet — have revolutionised the communication of scientific knowledge.

But most interest has so far focused on their impact on the exchange of information between professional researchers. Relatively little attention has been paid to the equally important issue of how these technologies could transform the way in which this knowledge is disseminated to non-scientists.

David Dickson argues that this approach offers an alternative to both the ‘top-down’ preaching and the carefully orchestrated ‘dialogues’ between scientists and ‘the public’. It also provides a particular opportunity to use the Internet to meet the social and economic needs of developing countries.

Reference: Nature 414, 587 (2001)

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