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The reform of the science: reality and dreams Livanov

Реформа науки: реальность и грезы Ливанова

16 March 2016, the Minister Dmitry Livanov has once again expressed confidence in the correctness of the chosen path to reform Russian science. However, he noted that while the reform of the RAS has no positive influence on the productivity of academic science. However, the Minister says that “the results will come… we will have to implement a number of expert decisions”.

While the government is persistently promoting the reform of the science, ignoring the protests of eminent scientists, the country is rapidly losing its intellectual potential: leakage of scientific personnel threatens to go critical line. Statistics emmigrants scientists in Russia is not conducted, but based on some estimates that thousands of professionals a year. According to the research of the Siberian branch of RAS, 70% of young scientists do not accept the reform of science, 40% are considering to leave science.

Conditions in which there is a Russian science makes to leave the study of the most motivated and devoted to their subject specialists. Moreover, it is not only in the material situation of scientific institutions, but also in General political trend of the Russian authorities: scientific activity, requiring constant contacts with the international scientific community is suffering from tightening of the political regime and promoting contacts with foreign counterparts are limited, stop joint projects, cut funding of translations of articles and monographs. Thus, Russia is being pushed to the periphery of scientific development, the province is becoming deaf in the scientific world.

In November 2015 was published in the UNESCO report “towards 2030”, which clarifies the true place of Russian science in the world: according to him, Russia’s contribution to world science is 1.7%. The contribution of China is estimated at 19.6% and the US at 28.1%. If Russia intends to compete on the world market of high-technology products, as our first person, we have to reduce catastrophic lag behind leading Nations in scientific capacity. It is now obvious that the reform of the science that not only promotes but also reinforces our lag, turning it into hopeless. It should be noted that the present contribution to world science provide the area, the traditional Soviet science (e.g., theoretical physics), but not being on the cutting edge of technological development.

Another indicator that return to reality from liberal dreams of Dmitry Livanov, is the number of issued patents: in 2013, Russia accounted for 0.2% of all discoveries made in the world (591 Russian patent). And it is in the midst of reform, under the assurances of officials that “the results will come”, you only need a little to wait and in any case not to leave the path chosen in high offices.

In the implementation of the reforms the authorities are willing to go very far, regardless of the loss to science. The resistance of the academicians of the RAS reformers continues unabated, forcing the Ministry to build up the pressure, taking more and more radical solution: without any expert discussion destroyed a highly successful Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, in April 2015 the head of the FANO fired his own by order of the head of the Institute of analytical chemistry (GEOKHI), essentially for criticizing the Agency, and without coordination with the Russian Academy of Sciences. The collective protest of the decision of the academicians were able to cancel, but it is obvious that FANO is committed to replacing keyframes on the people, loyal to the Minister and reform. This are the plans for the dismissal of all managers older than 70 years is half of all the Directors of the institutes, Association of academic institutions in large centres with a merger of accounting departments. This will decrease fixed budget institutions that would reduce wages and States. Because optimization is a favorite mantra of reformers.

The basis for the notorious effectiveness of scientists and institutions has a totally incorrect criteria, for example, the citation index, which in the most innovative areas of research says nothing. Many will quote a scientist who develops a fundamentally new direction? But it depends on the “efficiency” of the scientist in the new system and its financing.

All the signs are that soon the officials will sweep away whole areas of scientific research, which they seem ineffective, since the very principle that science is run by people deeply strange, is unlikely to change under the current political regime. Science is a complex system, the significance of one or another of its elements is often not obvious, and to predict what existing research will be a breakthrough in the future — is not always possible. And it is clear that an approach involving the removal of all allowances whose use is causing the officials of a doubt destructive for the Russian science.

Even in the General funding of science there is no progress — it still amounts to 1% of GDP, while reform typically implies a budget increase of an industry. Are there still those who truly believe that “the results will come…”? Or the result means the liquidation of science as a factor in the life of our country?

In General, the example of the reform of science, we see that liberal reforms remains an end in itself for the current regime — specific results from a country far to the side of her interests. A country can have a future only if a complete reformat on new, postliberal, grounds.

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