Middle East: Popular uprising spreads science

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Hundreds of young Arab people are establishing initiatives to promote science in Arabic and raise scientific literacy across the Middle East, free of the censorship and bureaucracy of government and religious authorities (see Nature Middle East http://doi.org/7p8; 2015).

They are publishing and translating scientific news and articles every day, including on topics such as evolution and sex education, which are widely taboo in many parts of the Middle East. Tens of thousands of reports, videos and infographics are popularizing a more objective way of thinking in the region. The movement relies on crowdsourcing from a vast pool of educated volunteers who are supervised by local scientists.

This 'uprising' has reached millions of people in a relatively short time. One science-communication group, Syrian Researchers, celebrated its millionth follower on Facebook in mid-2015 (www.syr-res.com). Another group, Scientific Saudi (www.scientificsaudi.com), has more than 250,000 social-media followers and is a learning partner of the Arabic edition of the MIT Technology Review.

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  1. University of Queensland, Herston, Australia.

    • Muath Alduhishy
  2. Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK.

    • Mouhannad Malek

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