REFORM OF THE RAS

REFORM OF THE RAS

IN SEPTEMBER Russian lawmakers should decide the fate of the Russian Academy of Sciences — the third reading of the bill is considered on the RAS and the reorganization of the state academies of sciences. The first two read document was 3 and 5 July — just when all traditionally stop to watch the news and go on vacation. At the same time until June 27 no one involved in the RAS scientists and academics had no idea of ​​the impending law. The newly elected president of the Academy Vladimir Fortov learned about it only in the evening June 26th. The former president of Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Osipov, apparently, was acquainted with the reform plan in advance, but no one of his colleagues said. Blitzkrieg in the form submitted to the Duma a bill with unknown authors (Minister Dmitry Livanov said that the document prepared by the Ministry of Education is, and he had no right to acquaint him with the public) Dr. Sci. Science Andrei Tsaturyan (see. his opinion on p. 28) compared with the attack on the women’s hostel Janissaries. There is something in this comparison — ive defenselessness of victims and furious onslaught, and little attention to morality on the part of the attackers, but, in general, and in regard to the chaos inside the hostel.

That the Academy should be reformed in principle, there is little dispute. But do Throw me with water and Child — getting rid of the «inefficient» work, «archaic», a conservative, but still retains the principles of self-government scientific organization, do not kill any science in general? At the moment, judging at least by the notorious citation indices, the number of published articles, RAS institutes with all its inefficiencies are the driving force of domestic science, several orders of magnitude ahead of the universities.

It is interesting that — surprisingly — attack rallied the academic research community. Even those who criticized the Academy, stand up to her defense, saying that for all the shortcomings of the academic system reform because, without warning, without talking to themselves reformed, not carried out. Those scientists who are at the end of the summer is still played on the side of Livanov, remained units. In fact, even the unit — from the circle of strong scientists with experience of working abroad, he publicly supported a biologist Konstantin Severinov.

Pending approval of the bill, we gather opinions on the proposed reform concept. Decide for yourself which of the rights of speakers.

Background: The Academy was founded by Peter I on the model of Western. However, unlike the latter, it has always depended on the state: its members received a salary and had to serve the country in scientific and technical terms. Until 1917, she had her own laboratory, but a little. The fundamental science in Russia in general was a little, mainly in universities and institutions such as the Military Medical Academy. «Big» Academy before the Revolution remained, in fact, an interdisciplinary seminar, as well as playing the role of a universal interagency scientific committee. The powers of the «highest all-Union scientific institution» of the country, she was given the Bolsheviks.

Excision of the RAS without anesthesia

, ^"B Boris Zhukov, science journalist, biologist

Hastily adopted by the Government and almost proshed-to :: shy Duma a draft reform of RAS among scientists decided to call it as «acceleration», «liquidation», «destruction» and continue in the same spirit. Rejection cause all the main points of the proposed changes, but most of all — the prospect of deprivation of the Academy of management authority and institutions of their property. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, except the former Soviet Union, national academies do not have the powers of state bodies of executive power. In some countries, basic science is mainly concentrated in the universities, in others it run special state bodies — such as the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). The situation is the same when nobody is accountable private club conducts public policy research, and manages state property and financial flows, it would have seemed unnatural in any country where there is a «big» science.

But, perhaps, it is this form of management science is most suitable for Russia? Alas, all those who’ve encountered for any need with the unit RAS, talk about it as one of the most stupid. Three years ago, someone looked in the English version of the official site of the Russian Academy of Sciences — and a few days the whole Runet laughed to find that the system of our Academy is the «Institute of proteins» (Squirrel institute), «Botanical sad Institute» (Botanic sad-institute) and Other amazing institution. Names of institutions translated into English in the program, auto. And do not even see what happens, the result posted on the official website. With all the anecdotal stories that she was very characteristic of the style of the device RAS.

But the main problem is not bad as hardware frames. Already this year, preparing for the inevitable showdown with the Ministry of Education, Academy of Sciences tried to test the effectiveness of their own structures subordinated to it. Of the 370 proven ineffective institutions was recognized as one … — The center of the Scythian-Alan Investigations of Vladikavkaz Scientific Center RAS. Everyone else found to be effective. No matter what the director of one of these institutions seriously says that in sea water changes the rate of decay of radionuclides (radioactive waste and therefore can be safely discharged into the sea).

The point, again, is not checking personal qualities. Corporation and can not behave differently. To recognize any institution ineffective inevitably means to make enemies in the person of its director, part of the same corporation. For this step, you need to have either a very feisty character, and a very strong motive. That is why all hope that with the new energetic president of the Academy is reforming itself, to say the least, naive. It has been repeatedly (particularly in 2004 and 2006) RAS shied away from change is a promise to hold their own efforts.

In short, no matter how to treat the country’s leadership to the Ministry of Education and personally to Minister Livanov, determination of their actions can be understood. Serious doubt is different: to what result will this resolve? Can the current Russian government to provide more efficient management of basic science? Who will take responsibility in the Agency for Management of research institutes and what these people are guided in their decisions? The recent experience of the rating of universities, undertaken by the Ministry, does not give cause for optimism. As well as the innovations proposed in the bill; the inclusion of the Russian Academy of Medical and Agricultural Academies, the possibility of depriving members of the future of the Academy of the title (in the context of our history clearly read as a lever of pressure on the disobedient), and so on.. Finally, started the reform has already secured its proponents sharply hostile attitude virtually the entire scientific community . It is not known whether the reforms have at least some pros and cons here already.

But it seems that there is simply no choice. No matter how illusory hope for the success of the reform, alternative — the collapse of the Russian fundamental science. If you withdraw to their original positions, in a few years it may be that it has to save nothing.

Reputation of the surgeon in doubt

Michael Katznelson, Doctor. Sci. , Professor Radboudskogo University (Netherlands), winner of the Spinoza 2013

I have mixed feelings. First of all, I’m sure that some urgent and drastic action was needed. The current system of the organization of science in Russia seems to be highly inefficient, and in the ability of the RAS to seriously reform itself, I do not believe it. All twenty-odd years of its existence, all the presidency Yuri Sergeyevich Osipov held under the slogan of «stability at any cost.» And this, in my opinion, not the stability that should appreciate. This stability, characterized by the omnipotence of the various pseudo-scientific authorities and lawlessness really working researchers. Time for self-reform is missed, the credibility of the Academy lost. Everything must be done in time.

On the other hand, more alarming is how the reform was initiated. I did not even about the fact that «not consulted». Carefully follow the debate (if you can call it that). It identified a mutual intransigence of the parties (not to say rabid) that there are some tips and discussions in such an atmosphere. Pay attention to all this sleaze, smacks of direct bribery, such as an increase in salaries of academics. Even sadder is, if it works, and it turns out that the only way to … But the main problem is that the lost confidence not only in the Academy, but also to the government, and to officials in general. Perhaps then you can not go into the reasons.

As a result, the situation looks to me like that. My soulmate (I’m twenty-five years at the Academy) seriously ill, without surgery — is inevitable and painful death (not least because the patient himself stubbornly refuse treatment, even when things are not running so it was). Finally still scheduled for surgery. But the reputation of the surgeon, to put it mildly, is in serious doubt. What can you do in this situation? Perhaps hoping for a miracle. But what if?

Horse riding is a pity money for science — they do not need

Alexander Meshcheryakov, yaponista, Doctor. East. , professor of RSUH

Reform of the Academy of Sciences should be considered in the overall context of what is happening in the country. In modern Russia, absolutely nothing is done — no sneakers, no drugs. Oil and gas are exchanged for foreign goods. Our political elite, with very few exceptions, has neither a decent education or morals. Taken together, this dictates decisions.

The country, of course, need to be upgraded. A successful example of this modernization is Japan. A key success factor — the policy of raising the educational level of the population. Japanese Foreign needed to learn from it. For our elite it seems a supermarket in which everything can be bought on petrodollars. In this regard, we are seeing sequential steps that lead to a lowering of the intellectual level of the country.

«Reform» of the Academy of Sciences fits into the overall strategy of top — the default is that the funds allocated to science and education of the country, unfairly lost for the political elite. Carry out «reform» without investing in its funds — Utopia. But no one thinks about the changes that will ensure the efficiency of science. No wonder we hear the soothing statements as a result of reforms to ordinary employees «will not change anything.» The position is an ordinary employee of the RAS — no worse. He has neither as a decent standard of living, no modern equipment, not status. Note the unknown world of developers reforms Academy directed not at improving the effectiveness of science, and the creation of smoke plume (repainting signs, new acronyms) and the redistribution of property.

Positive from the reform — to consolidate scientists Phys. -mat. Science, leading researcher of the Laboratory of Biomechanics of Mechanics BAT, co-chairman of the board of the Society of Scientific Workers (OHP)

The famous physicist, one of the creators of the «Corps of Experts», Mikhail Feigel’man compared suddenness and secrecy with which the bill on the reform of the Academy of Sciences was introduced in the State Duma, with the operation of special forces behind enemy lines. To me it looks more like a raid on the Janissaries women’s hostel. Contrary to some claims, Russian Academy of Sciences does not look like a temple or a monastery inhabited by detachment from the world of science ministers. RAS is exposed to all the evils of the female dorm: intrigue, sloth, greed, venality and subservience. But this does not mean that the only way to improve the morals of Russian science — to give it to the looting and desecration of the janissaries. Other research institutions (universities and national research centers) suffer from the same defects, and are even more bureaucracy.

So far the only positive result of the raid on the RAS — surprisingly powerful and consolidated opposition to the scientific community. This applies not only to the numerous petitions, petitions, rallies and actions. Only the statement of our Company’s Board of scientists signed almost 10 thousand. People, more than half of them — doctors and candidates of sciences, including about 10% of the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and more than 12% of the scientific staff of the Academy of Sciences. Even more important is the formation of horizontal links between academic institutions at all levels, from directors to young scientists to coordinate protest actions. Against a crooked academic community has set in motion a «weapon of mass destruction» in the face of the prosecutor’s office, start checking some RAS institutes.

Such a powerful argument scientific discussion as the Investigative Committee, fortunately, remain in reserve until the «reformers.» Enormous role played by the union of «academicians refuseniks»: 73 members of Russian Academy of Sciences refused to enter into a new academy. Many of them could make any color Academy of Sciences of the world. The fact that the scientists were able to unite in the common misfortune and loudly express their demands to the state and society is extremely important. As a result, problems of science for the first time in many years at the center of public attention. At the heart of the scientific discussion on the principle of «equal court» (peer review), where the weight of opinion is based on convincing arguments, expert qualification and authority among colleagues. No reform of science is impossible without the active participation of the scientists themselves. This work has started in the framework of informal associations of scientists, and this gives some chance that the Russian science will continue as a significant part of world science.

I hope that the country’s leadership will take into account the total rejection by the scientific community and the law will return at least to the second reading. Otherwise, the country will face a new wave of emigration of scientists. If the law on the reform of the Academy of Sciences will be adopted in its present form, then after a year or two, Russia will be enviously eye on such advanced scientific powers such as India, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Iran.

Another Skolkovo, but great big.

Experience of reforming Bulgarian Academy of Sciences: a lot to learn

If you think that the idea of ​​the elimination of the National Academy of Sciences — is something original, then you are wrong. Just a few years ago, the Bulgarian government proposed the idea to reorganize the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). The officials, ignoring the objections of scientists BAN criticized the lack of scientific results. This budget funding institutions BAN declined from year to year. It was said that science should live on grants, rather than the budget money. And besides, pointed out that the ban is real estate, where you can dispose of better than do academics (though in BAN, in contrast to the Russian Academy of Sciences, the origin of a significant part of the real estate not state why the intention to take her to the state seemed especially spicy) .

Do you recognize? Yes, exactly these claims sound today to the Russian Academy of Sciences. So we have every right to make the situation in Bulgaria in our Russian.

And the Bulgarian Academy has decided to conduct an independent international audit of its institutions — something that, unfortunately, RAS, is not likely to threaten. The plans to reform prepared by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, at least, nothing that is not mortgaged. A BAN is to go — it is worth noting that it was the decision of the Academy.

Assessment of the Bulgarian Institute conducted a special committee set up by the European Science Foundation (EEG) and the Association of European Academies. Institutes divided into four sectors. The first group included representatives of Physics and Mathematics.

chemical and engineering sciences, the second — biological institution, in the third — those who engage in earth sciences, in the fourth — institutions of social sciences and humanities. The reason for the audit was the standard protocol for the evaluation of scientific organizations, developed in the Netherlands. During the test, scientific institutions received assessment based on three criteria: quality of research, economic and social importance of perspective. The quality of studies was assessed on a four point scale, from A to D. The importance and prospects — for a three-point, from A to C.

In autumn 2009, the Committee published the results of the audit, and suddenly they were better than the critics think. Of the 71 institutions BAN 17 received in quality and productivity of A Grade, 36 — V. Worst rated B received only one institution, the Center of architectural studies. The only serious drawback of the academy called a lack of funding. But most importantly — on the results of this work were the proposals for the reorganization of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Academy expressed its willingness to follow them. And really I have reformed, merging some institutions and reduce staff. As a result, the Government agreed to maintain the autonomy of BAS and leave her property management.

It is unlikely that officials in the Russian government will consider the situation is similar — if the true goal of the reform is to move the market a large amount of real estate, not the salvation of science in the country, there is nothing to compare.

I do not call it a special operation, I work

Dmitry Livanov, Doctor. Sci. Science, Minister of Education and Science

The Academy of Sciences in the form in which it has developed over the last 20 years — it is a coalition of semi-feudal distribution. A constant state of conflict of interest creates stagnation … … With the adoption of the bill the reform of science is just beginning. We did only the first step.

… I come to this story quite pragmatically. My job as the manager — to advance as far as possible in dealing with the challenges that I believe are important. … Therefore, the faster prodvineshsya, the less energy is lost. I do not call it a special operation, I work …

We woke up by the noise of tanks

Quiet swamp biol. , professor of Rutgers University (USA), Head. lab. at the Institute of Molecular Genetics and the Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, project manager for megagrantu in St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University.

…It seems to me that all of the academy, no matter whether or not the union, should be thoroughly cleaned and podsokratit. This leads to the devaluation of the academic title.

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