2011 Sep 05
September 5, 2011

Can Asean share research and knowledge?

0 Comment

Call for single window website to boost region.

It’s now convenient to search for knowledge obtained from research conducted by an agency – by putting keywords of what you want to know in a search engine on the agency’s website. Can you imagine how much better it would be if we could do the same via a website that could find researchbased knowledge derived from many different agencies in different Asean countries?

The Asean Economic Community (AEC) is coming. Asean countries will have to learn more about each other in different areas. As these 10 countries share similar ways of life and problems, Thai researchers have come up with an idea to share and link their researchbased knowledge with those in other Asean countries, using an interoperability system. So, it will be easier for people in Asean countries to use diverse researchbased knowledge to drive their development.

Interoperability is a property that refers to the ability of diverse systems and organisations to work together (interoperate). The term is often used in a technical systems engineering sense, or alternatively in a broad sense, taking into account social, political, and organisational factors that impact systemtosystem performance, according to Wikipedia.

The idea was recently disclosed at Thailand Research Expo 2011, which was held in Bangkok from August 2630 by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT).

“Some 32 agencies in both government and private sectors have shared their research knowledge under the prototype of the National Research Indexing Hub project. With 66 databases available, Thai people can now search for the knowledge produced by these agencies from a website,” said Choompol Boonmee, a lecturer at Thammasat University’s Faculty of Engineering, who is adviser to the project.

“While we’re seeking collaboration from more agencies locally to exchange their research knowledge, we’re opting to expand the network to Asean countries,” he said.

Choompol said library officials at Thailand’s Kasetsart University and National University of Laos had agreed to exchange book databases.

“I hope that NRCT will agree with our regional move and support us. If it backs the move, we will find other agencies that have connections with other countries to interoperate with them,” Choompol said.

Call for joint research

Meanwhile, a consultant to the Thailand eGovernment Interoperability Framework, Somnuk Kirito, recommended that apart from sharing databases, researchers within the region should conduct joint research to strengthen Asean.

Chatchai Mongkolvisadhkaiwon, vice chairman of a committee on AEC Prompt at the Thai Chamber of Commerce, also urged research to support economic growth. “Added value is created from research, for example smart phones. So, we should carry out research to analyse current information and situations to prepare for economic development.”

Chatchai said AEC would provide a good opportunity for researchers to exchange their knowledge and work together in response to climate change and food security problems threatening Asean countries.

“Researchers in the region have to integrate their work,” he said.

Vatcharis Visitvong, a customs brokerage senior manager at Dimerco Express (Thailand), said he wanted researchers to overcome fears that their work would be copied as exchanging did not mean people had to give everything to other researchers. He believed knowledge combination would lead to benefits.

These people spoke at one of the seminars at the expo, titled the Possibility of Information System Interoperability in the Asean community.

With the concept of creating an Asean Single Window that investors and entrepreneurs can access conveniently to do business in Asean countries – like onestop service centre, Somnuk urged researchers to initiate a single window for regional research, using the same concept.

Somnuk said he wanted leading research agencies in these countries to collaborate and let each other gain access to their research knowledge and do research collaboratively for the sake of the region.

“Agencies in each Asean country that have similar duties to Thailand’s NRCT should join hands and allow access to their information and knowledge,” Somnuk said.

Vatcharis and Chatchai hoped that the researchers would carry out research to cope with reallife problems, as it could bring about good solutions for people.

Although, all agreed that creating systems to share information among different agencies in different countries was a tough job, which was difficult to make work; they urged officials to get it started and gradually and continuously improve regional systems.

“Policymakers in each country have to pay more attention to communication to create better understanding among agencies,” Chatchai urged. –Wannapa Khaopa, The Nation