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Abstract

Introduction Today the public perception of any scientific field and in particular of nanotechnology and nanomedicine is fundamental for their convincing grow in everyday life. In this study we provide a worldwide view of nanotechnology and nanomedicine possible future trends and opinions on ethics, funding and economics through the most widely used on line international social media platform: Facebook. At this purpose, we performed an analysis of nanotechnology/nanomedicine interest based on nanotechnology-focused Facebook page sand groups. We developed a method of investigation able to reach a worldwide sample through a nanomedicine poll. Our research technique were able to arrive at people that joined nanotechnology, nanomedicine, nanobiotechnology and nanomaterials (nine different types) Facebook groups; we called this "the Facebook nanotechnology world" (FNanoW). Results We report 539 pages, more than 68000 "likes" and 18000 members of nanotech groups. The majority of participants were young adults between 21 to 30 years old, representing 60.6 % of total survey participants. We found that graphene and carbon nanotubes are the most followed nanomaterials (Fig 1). We than performed a worldwide poll showing that the continents with the most interest are Asia (Including the Arab world) in terms of residence (50.1%) and origin (56.4%), and Africa with 20.1 % of participants from African origins and a 18.4% residing in this continent (Fig 2). A 43% would like to have a world commission regulating on nanomedicine. We found that the FNanoW would prefer to concentrate funding on research focused on "a combination of imaging, therapy and diagnosis" (42.7%) followed by "Nanodevices" (25.7%) and "tissue engineering" (10.4%). Over 90% believe that nanomedicine has an economic impact. Finally, we observed that continents of living and origin strongly correlate with ethic and funding opinions. Discussion and conclusion Social scientists know that the public's perception and awareness of nanotechnology is vital to innovation, development and commercialization of nanoproducts in any field including nanomedicine. The difficulties found in democratizing nanotechnology, also called public engagement, can be challenged by the use of online social media. We took advantage of Facebook, the most used online social network worldwide, as a tool to study nanotechnology awareness. With our research, at a global scale, no continent was excluded. We believe that this feature represents important piece knowledge for any government to plan future funding of research in the nanotechnology particularly for medical applications. We believe that the results reported in this work will allow, in the near future, to reach a more global interaction between scientists and the public, making the dream of democratizing nanotechnology a reality. Our study gives an example of useful approach to select very specific samples, at world level, to conduct social and commercial surveys. Moreover our study can be a ground-breaking new social media model to spread the awareness of nanotechnology and nanomedicine in emerging countries in Science: Qatar and the Arab world.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSPP0186
2014-11-18
2020-09-27
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSPP0186
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