The Moscow News: Science on the sidelines
Kristen Blyth from The Moscow News in her article “Science on the sidelines” reports the results of ISSEK junior research fellow Maxim Kotsemir’s study on the dynamics of the publication activity of Russian researchers in Web of Science in 2001—2011. The Moscow News article is about Vladimir Fortov, the newly elected President of the Russian Academy of Sciences and current situation in Russian science.
Science on the sidelines article is written in quite a critical style. The author focuses attention on major acute problems of the Russian science: situation with fake doctoral dissertations “written” by Russian government officials, weak funding of science, confrontation between the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Education and Science, low publication and citation indicators of Russian researchers in international scientific journals. Describing the situation with low scientific productivity of Russia Kristen Blyth cites some results from Maxim Kotsemir’s article "Publication Activity of Russian Researches in Leading International Scientific Journals", published in Acta Naturae journal (Acta Naturae, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 14-35, 2012). This article was cited in the “Productivity flatline” section of “Science on the sidelines” in The Moscow News.
Russian academia’s troubles with bureaucracy, corruption, and infighting have accumulated in an unsurprising result: stagnation.
Russia’s publishing productivity has flatlined, while developing countries like Iran, Malaysia, and Pakistan have exploded by comparison. A July 2012 study by Russian researcher Maxim Kotsemir, from Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, found that the number of publications by Russian scientists actually decreased slightly in 2011 compared to 2001. In addition, the average number of citations of Russian scientific papers was one of the lowest in the world.
“Developing countries have begun closing the gap with the established leaders,” Kotsemir wrote. “Because of the strengthening in this trend, Russia’s lagging will manifest itself largely. By the next decade, Russia may lose its status as one of the world’s great scientific countries without timely reforms in scientific policy.”
This weakness has remained largely unacknowledged in the Russian scientific community.
When questioned about the very low citation rate for Russian-language scientific articles in 2010, outgoing RAS president Yury Osipov dismissed the importance of publishing in English — the official international language of science. “Any top-level specialist will also study Russian and read papers in Russian,” he told Gazeta.ru.