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[ABIDJAN] The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has agreed to launch the country's first scientific journal, which they expect to attain international standards and become a reference point within central Africa.

The multidisciplinary scientific journal is aimed at giving the country's researchers a common platform to share ideas and communicate their research results.

The government created the quarterly peer-reviewed journal, Revue Congolaise de la Science et Technologie (Congolese Review of Science and Technology) last month (5 September) by ministerial order. The first issue is expected by early 2012.

Jean Pierre Bokole Ompoka, the Congolese minister of scientific research, said the creation of the journal was motivated by the lack of a central means of expression and ideas sharing for scientists in the country — a situation that seriously hinders the transmission of research results and denies scientists the recognition of publishing in scientific journals.

"Researchers must make this magazine their own. Its existence will depend on their ability to bring it to life with their articles. They should work hard for it so that future generations of researchers can be grateful to the previous ones," said Bokole Ompoka.

The journal  will be financed and managed by the National Scientific Board, which coordinates scientific research and advises the government on science issues, and will be supervised by the Ministry of Scientific Research. The board is currently putting together the editorial board for the journal.

Kondodi Kale Kolo, the president of the National Scientific Board, said the creation of the journal was a good initiative.

But all contributors must strive to make it a credible journal by sticking to their deadlines, he added.

"The credit of a scientific journal is not only seen through the quality of its articles but also in regular publication."

DRC has just over 10,000 researchers and spends around 0.5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on science according to a 2010 report by UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Scientific productivity is "negligible", with just 30 publications registered in Thomson Reuters' Science Citation Index in 2008, the report says, adding that language barriers might be partly responsible.