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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

“Scientific works — not bricks” mathematics rebelled against the government order FANO


Russian scientists are again herded into a dead end. Only at the end of the year promised two times to raise salaries, according to the may decrees of the President, as here again there is a problem. For the doubling of the base funding a number of institutions FANO requires an unrealistic doubling of the number of scientific papers. These are the conditions of the new state assignment, a draft of which institutions must agree before the end of this week. The condition is unbearable for those who are accustomed to treat the scientific works seriously, to keep the brand the best not only in Russia but throughout the world.

Rebelled against the senseless conditions are not weak, and the strongest. On Tuesday, January 16, the scientific Council of Russian Mathematical Institute. Steklov Academy of Sciences (MIAN), recorded recently in rating the success of the institutions in the most advanced category, adopted a statement of his disagreement with the principles of the state of the task declared FANO in 2018.


photo: Gennady Cherkasov

Scientists oppose the increase in the production of scientific articles is proportional to the increase in funding. For example, MIAN prescribed instead 71st (state assignment 2017) issue is now 150! And if the scientists will agree to sign a new state assignment, it is not clear they will increase base funding or even leave without money?

Members of the academic Council, which includes world-renowned academicians Valery Kozlov, Boris Kashin, Victor Vasiliev and other leading mathematicians, very much hope that their authoritative opinion heard in the Federal Agency of scientific organizations and the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation and cancel unreal bar, which is impossible without a sharp decline in the quality of work.

We very much want to convey to managers who rule today science, our work, publications in scientific journals is not the bricks, their production cannot be scheduled for the year ahead — says “MK” the doctor of physico-mathematical Sciences, Professor, academician Boris Kashin. — Yes, and nowhere in the world the number of publications is not the main indicator of the productivity of scientific work.

“This approach distorts the style of scientific work, reduces the scientific value of publications and in practice will only lead to the profanation of publication activity”, — reads the statement of the mathematicians. Already for anybody not a secret that in setting the cornerstone of scientometrics in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the institutions among the “leading scientists” are beginning to break through, to put it mildly, not quite worthy of the title individuals. All known cases where the authors agree to cite each other in their articles mutual increasing the rating to or instead of the serious work I publish some small papers which are not worthy of attention of reputable scientists.

— We are right in FANO implying that you don’t have to strive in publications indexed in the database Web of Science, explains Kashin. — We say: “You let articles in smaller magazines…” One Institute seems to have decided to increase publication activity to count as work preprints (articles of small volume, dedicated to the future of this work, published by the author, to discuss and Refine the findings with colleagues. — Ed.). Preprints somewhere indexed but this approach — it’s trash! No one will respect you after that. Those who put us into this humiliating position, do not understand that destroy centuries-old scientific tradition of the qualitative approach to scientific articles. Scientific and technical policy in Russia today is a mixture of sabotage and incompetence.

The scientist remembered how when you visit in December the Congress of the world Federation of scientific workers in Senegal have asked the local scientists about their working conditions. He said that coming to the Institute for young PhD receives fifteen thousand euros and lifetime employment. That is, even in Senegal scientists appreciate more than we do?

It is interesting that, despite assurances from FANO to plan the work of the institutions together with the Russian Academy of Sciences, the new project of the given assignment, according to Kashin, he passed by the Academy. It is not known which seek managers who, despite assurances to assess the institutions not only for the number of publications, but for other obviously available services, still leaning scientific organizations to the cane system, which at the time refused even the police?

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