World Federation of
Science Journalists

Nature’s has now three region-specific portals

March 30, 2010 posted in Sci.Journalism 2 comments >>

At the beginning of March 2010, Nature launched its third dedicated portal: Nature Middle East. The two previous portals are Nature China, launched in 2007, and Nature India launched in 2008.

Augustin Denis, IT Specialist for WFSJ, asked the following questions to Mohammed Yahia, the brand new editor of this new online publication:

Augustin first asked how Mohammed Yahia became involved and how it feels to move in such a position.

Mohammed: “Ever since I heard, back in June 2009, that Nature was planning to launch a new portal dedicated to the Arab region, I have been very excited. I knew there was a strong need for a dedicated science portal in the region that is trustable and respectable, so Nature fitted that bill exactly - and a little more!

I think it is an incredible opportunity for me to work on the newly launched Nature Middle East. I believe the website will play a pivotal role in promoting science and research in the Arab world. The region is set to become in the near future an important player in the science field, and the launch of Nature Middle East at this particular time means it will be heavily involved in becoming the place to gather all these wonderful developments together. I think when an organization as big and respected as Nature comes to the region, it helps fast track a lot of progress in this field.

On a professional level, for me it’s a completely new step to be working within a media organization with such a rich history in promoting science all over the world. There is so much to learn working with my team. And the best thing is that it is very satisfying for me on a personal level because for the past three years I've been working really hard to try and promote science and science journalism in the Arab region. This new position gives me a chance to play an integral part in what I call "the science revolution" which is taking place here right now.

Augustin: When was the site launched?

Mohammed: The website was launched on Tuesday, February 23, 2010. This was our soft launch. The official launch like I said will take place next Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

Augustin: Is there a paper version?

Mohammed: No for now it is only online. Nature already had two dedicated portals, Nature China, launched in 2007, and Nature India launched in 2008. Nature Middle East is the third dedicated portal from the nature journal network.

Augustin: How does it work? Is it all new and original content?

Mohammed: All content on the website is original. The way it works is that, through the portal, we want to focus on science in the Middle East. The website will serve both as a tool to showcase the best of the science taking place in the region right now, and to promote science in the region. So it is directed at two distinct audiences: the first are the science community in the Arabic-speaking Middle East, and the second are the international science community who are interested in learning more about the science taking place in the region.

There are several sections in the website. The first are research highlights, which are short summaries of interesting science published in high impact journals either conducted in the Middle East or with Middle Eastern scientists involved. The second section is the news and features, focusing on science in the region in particular and problems that can be or are being solved by science in the region (such as desertification, salination, etc). Then there is also our new blog, which is called the House of Wisdom, as well as the forum. These two tools are designed to be more interactive and to promote communication amongst the science community. Finally, there are NatureJobs, which offer jobs in the science sector relevant to the region as a service to the community.

The website also periodically offers free access to some of the paid material on the Nature network that is relevant to the region.

What is particularly interesting in my opinion is that many of the published articles on the website appear in both Arabic and English. This is especially interesting because there is wide interest among the science community in the region to read science news in their native language. That is one of the best things that Nature Middle East brings the region.

Augustin: What is your role?

Mohammed: I am the editor of Nature Middle East

Augustin: Are the offices in Egypt?

Mohammed: Yes, the office for Nature Middle East is based in Cairo, Egypt. However, the site is directed at all the Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern countries. There are 18 countries that we plan to have featured on it.

Augustin: When did this initiative started?

Mohammed: We have been working actively on the website for the past two months or so. During this period we were creating material to populate the website before launch. However, the initiative started earlier than that through discussions with the sponsor, writing out the ideas, etc.

Related link:

Thank you!
posted on April 12, 2010 by  Mohammed Yahia
Thank you so much Lucy!

I appreciate your support and hope you are right! :)
posted on April 5, 2010 by  Lucy Calderón
Dear Mohammed, I am very happy to know about your new editorial position. Congratulations!! you deserve it and I am sure you are going to do an excellent job.

Best wishes,


Commenting is close