Spanish must be a language of science and the educational systems of Spanish-speaking world have an important role to play in making that happen, presidents of Spain's royal academies of the sciences said at a forum here.

Joining the heads of the royal academies of medicine, pharmacy, engineering and exact sciences for the discussion were the directors of the U.S. and Mexican academies of the Spanish language and the chancellors of the host institution - Menendez Pelayo International University - and the University of Alcala de Henares.

"A poor command of the communication of science in Spanish also reflects a poverty of ideas," Menendez Pelayo's Cesar Nombela said.

Calling for the "perfecting" of the use of Spanish in the sciences, Nombela said he does not advocate that scientists in Spain and Latin America abandon English.

Joaquin Poch, president of the Royal Academy of Medicine, said one of his organization's projects is a specialized medical dictionary.

With 52,000 entries, including terms particular to Latin America, the reference work is to be available in both printed and online editions.

The Royal Academy of Exact Sciences is at work on a Web version of its Scientific and Technical Vocabulary, the institution's president, Alberto Galindo, said during the conference in Santander.