Sustaining Asean's science and technology future
January-March 2016
By: Allison Sonneveld

Asean plainly needs to improve its communication and resourcing of its science and technology activities. Currently, information is only spread through the Secretariat’s website; the Asean Science and Technology Network Website (Astnet); ad hoc file uploads on the government websites of member states; and other official web pages. It would be far more beneficial to have Asean-related science and technology documentation on a single website, which would be a welcome resource for researchers to network and collaborate.

Astnet is an ideal platform for hosting this information. Originally raised as a flagship in 1997, Astnet was created to collate resources on Asean’s science and technology projects and COST administration, and in doing so foster continuing education, technology transfer and competitive research and development. Prior to late 2015, the website linked to Asean databases and publications and contained a forum for discussing COST and subcommittee matters.

The problem is that Astnet has not been adequately supported. It was not until 2005 that the website was established and, despite encouraging statements about its value through Apast, has generally not been maintained over time. In recent months, its forum was empty of users, its most recent news announcement was in 2009 and its links to the Asean Science and Technology Journal were out of date.

There is cause for optimism about the website’s future, as its content and design was recently updated. Although Asean’s historical science and technology documentation has now been scrubbed in favor of more recent meeting outcomes, the Secretariat appears to be committed to reinvigorating Asean’s online science and technology presence.

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