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Problems of researchers in third world and how IMECHANICA can help them (it is not money).

many researchers in industrial countries think the only problem of third world researchers is money but it is not true. I worked as a researcher for four years in one of this third world countries.

Computational and Theoretical research dont need much money as like as lab dependent research. because freeware and opensource became popular and (the copyright laws are not strict in these countries unfortunately).many experimental works also can be done with available facilities in these universities.

many of our graduated students now study in CALTECH,STANFORD,MIT,PRICETON, HARVARD, JOHN HOPKINS, and the lectures in many universities in third world are really good in comparision with lectures offer there. there are so many active MSC and PHD students who are eager to research. and they spend  more time on researchers than industrial countries because they have no any other thing to do!!!!. i think it be same in china.

Main problem is Mission and the topic. they dont know what to do. they dont know what scientific society wants to know.  they dont know what to do. some times they just download paper. validate it, change the parameters or add new parameters and then try to publish it. they spend their money and time on papers who no one reads them. when they see their research has no impact they dont like to spend more money and time. if you comprise number of published papers and number of citations for example of iran you will believe what i am saying.

Imechanica can help improving the quality of research by introducing questions which scientific society likes to know their answer. and their researches will find. of course there are many points hidden in review papers but if it be more specified in categorized manner it would be more helpful.








Zhigang Suo's picture

Dear Roozbeh:  I think you put your finger on the exact right spot.  I've been back to China almost every year for sometime.  I have never heard anyone who complain that they do not have the access to the literature.  It is entirely possible that publishers have a different pricing model for a different country, or even a different university!  I really believe that the main issue is to have good ideas, as you have just pointed out.

Of course, having good ideas is difficult no matter where you are.  But if you work in information technology, for example, you are more likely to have good ideas if you happen to work in Bay Area than perhaps anywhere else in the world.  The difference is the density of people in your field.

In the field of mechanics, the subject has a long history, so that the quantity of knowledge is huge.  It is simply not enough to be just clever.  You need to have stimulation of new questions, possibly from a colleague in a different field, or from engineers in a new industry.  You need to have knowledgeable mechanicians around you to point to old solved probelms, so that you don't repeat them.  And you can simply modify the old solutions for the new need.  As they say, good artists copy, great artists steal.

Will iMechanica be useful to mechanicians working in a place with low density of colleagues?  Definitely.  Indeed, you may have noticed that many active users of iMechanica are not from prominent centers of mechanics. 

More significantly, we should keep all channels open.  Exchange scholars.  Seminars.  Conferences.  Journal papers.  Skype.

A true promise of the Internet (and Globalization in general) is to remove the undesirable effects of distance.  We are still a long distance away from the promised land. 

Dear Zhighang.

Many researchers are working with
different skills and different facalities around the world. Every research team
tries to persuade society or other researcher’s needs with it’s skills and
facilities! Just like the economy. But how to discover the needs. I
know. Papers, Conferences, Books, Specially Reviews and self review and
even News , NAE POLICIES,… all are possible ways. But there is another
way and I think it is better and faster. clear state of these needs
by the researchers themselves
. My sugesstion is creating a needs
by researchers!.

For example:

many people may encounter questions about different
aspects of cracks and interface layers in many areas. But their scope may be
very different from you and you can not discover their needs easily , if you knew
their needs you could solve the problem very easily because it is your


When I was in iran we had computers! and very good
programers with strong mathematical background. But we didn’t know what is
needed by experimentallists and we thought our knowledge is very unuseful . When
I came here I encountered strongly equipped labs. But they need also many
people to do something computationally. If we knew their needs in that time We could
solve this computational problems before and it could speed up their progress
instead of writing papers never cited and never used!.


Imechanica can be used by anyone who likes to write a book about abaqus!.
Because he can know what others like to know. Then even In present form
imechanica still helps
. But in the present form people ask about
somethings that they think has done before. And dont suggest  new works to do.  


My Aim is making a internet resource for researchers to
express their needs and their!. What they need to be done by other researchers.
But the researchers will read if they know others read it!. Then It is not
a personal work!.  



I think, perhaps, Roozbeh is right at least to some extent. For some active MSC and PhD students in China, it is hard to do right thing in right direction. Many PhD and MSC advisors hold the out-of-date research topics for students nowadays. However, in my opinion, it would be a good training for these active students not only in China but all over the world to conduct research work in state-of-the-art technology field.

Actually, we can start a research group or interest group at iMechanica. Each group may have one or two directors who give the research topic for the group. Someone in the group could carry out the experimental works, the others may work on the computational realm. Is that okay, Roozbeh?  


I think supervisors have not so much time to supervise many students around the world. it would be enough if they put the topics which they suggest in a list form!!. or even topics can be done by researchers out of their subject and may be beneficial for their present research!.

Aaron Goh's picture

There are many problems faced in the developing world that need research that the people from the 'first' world do not realise.  I think that if you BELIEVE that what you do is important, and you see that your work is benefiting the society, then that is good enough.  Doing popular 'science' will always put one in the developing world in a disadvantage position because of the lack of money and clout to change the global playing fields.


I agree 100% with Aaron.

One of the problems faced by research in poor countries is the herd mentality that people there have developed over time. Researchers try to work on problems that are important in industrialised countries - perhaps beacuse they seek international recognition.  People feels that unless their research is validated by the West it has no value. 

There are hundreds of pressing problems faced on a daily basis by ordinary people which can be solved by relatively cheap research.  What poor countries need (and usually lack) is a large number of creative people who are motivated enough to work on these problems in the face of institutional barriers and the hassles of daily life.  

In India, when an industry faces some problem the usual tendency is to run to some manufacturer in an industrialised country for the solution.  The manufacturer then uses its own research resources to solve the problem or sources it to one of the universities.   After the first step of that cycle is complete, Indian researchers jump on the bandwagon and try to extend the original work.  And the cycle of second rate research continues.

Caveat:  These are gross generalizations but you get the picture.

Summary: What's needed is independent and creative thinking.  Don't wait for iMechanica to hand you worthwhile problems to work on.  If the problems are worthwhile enough, the originators will work on them themselves.

-- Biswajit 

I agree with you completely. 

But many of reserachers have skills and works and do something not related directly to the society. they do somethings for other researchers. new scientific society is more complex because it has several layers of scientists. many of them are directly related to society and society needs is more easy to find out but many of them are related to other researchers and i suggested a network between reseachers of different scopes to know their needs.

For example I think MALARIA is a prevalent disease in india but no doctor can solely develop a new method to care that. they need the work of molecular scientists. chemists. and bioengineers and others and they can not progress more because of limitations in areas other than their area.   but if they could report this limitation to molecular biologists, chemists and bioengineers, they sometimes could eliminate limitations if they know elimination of this barriers can progress malaria treat. but many of them dont know. they work on less important areas. when people are dying in india. i think this can help people of poor countries. 


Aaron Goh's picture

Biswajit, I wanted to say how much I agree with your comments (and Michelle's) on the other thread about the grand challenges, but never got round to!!

Back to this topic, one example is the Tata Nano.  In fact, I quote the following from the businessweek site:  

"When Tata made its
vow to build a $2,500 car, many Western auto executives ridiculed the
project, dubbing it a four-wheel bicycle. They aren't laughing anymore. 


Mike Ciavarella's picture

Maybe the success of this post is the title:

Problems of researchers in third world and how IMECHANICA can help them

As far as Imechanica is simply a group originated from the original Architects (Suo and his former students), it will not go very far.

Zhigang says that Publishers have different prices in poor countries.  Maybe, but I can tell you that I received a letter from the Conference of Rectors in Italy saying that they negociated for months with Elsevier to reach a better prize.  And Italy is NOT normally considered a poor country.

Rozbeh is pointing to the rigth direction: at Harvard people CANNOT have the correct feeling of what is happening in the world, and specularly in the poor countries, they do not have access of what are the needs of leading edge technology.

Even more to the point, leading edge technology is NOT automatically academic research.  I would be surprised if MUCH industry cites IJSS or JMPS -- these papers are mostly for academics.

Finally I agree with Aaron.  Poor countries can do a lot of revolutions, because rich countries are blind.  So while Harvard thinks that Elsevier 1 billion dollars business is NOT against the scientific needs of poor countries (Harvard does NOT read wikipedia about Elsevier then), TATA has designed a cheap car.

Somebody mentioned MALARIA.  I want to spend a world in favour of Subra SURESH.  He is a pioneer, he was in Fatigue when I visited him invited by the USAF, and for a short time, we discussed research on fatigue.  Now, he has completely changed to MALARIA.

I think people like SURESH are the real TOP few people who work hard and fast enough to make connections, travel to China and India but not for holiday, but really to see the world.

I am afraid Imechanica needs to move in the direction suggested by Rozbeh in his title, and not defending ELSEVIER just because we fear to go against this company:

Problems of researchers in third world and how IMECHANICA can help them




michele ciavarella

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