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When do scientists “adopt” the Internet? Dimensions of connectivity in developing areas

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We examine the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the knowledge production sectors of three developing areas. Using interviews with 918 scientists in one South Asian and two African locations, we address three fundamental questions: (1) To what degree has the research community in the developing world adopted the Internet? (2) How can the disparities in Internet adoption best be characterized? (3) To what extent is Internet use associated with research productivity? Our findings indicate that while the vast majority of scientists describe themselves as current email users, far fewer have ready access to the technology, use it in diverse ways, or have extensive experience. These results are consistent with the notion that Internet adoption should not be characterized as a single act on the part of users. The rapid development of the Internet and the cumulative skills required for its effective use are equally important, particularly its impact on productivity. These findings lead us to qualify crude generalizations about the diffusion of the Internet in developing areas.

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Correspondence to Marcus Ynalvez.

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Ynalvez, M., Duque, R., Mbatia, P. et al. When do scientists “adopt” the Internet? Dimensions of connectivity in developing areas. Scientometrics 63, 39–67 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-005-0203-5

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  • Communication Technology
  • Rapid Development
  • Research Community
  • Research Productivity
  • Extensive Experience