Less money, fewer scientists: what the authors of the new reform of the RAS

The Ministry of education and FANO prepared a package of documents on which the scientific staff will have to cut down massively, and the rest — much more work. From such reform of the Academy no one will win

The end of the moratorium

In 2013, Russia began the reform of the science, and started with a big scandal. Prepared in the strictest secrecy bill three great academies — the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of medical Sciences and Russian Academy of agriculture — were dismissed, and instead created a new club of scientists who are not entitled to manage the research Finance and property.

After the intervention of President Vladimir Putin, the law was amended: for the United Academy will remain the expert functions and the management of scientific research, but all institutions will be managed by the Federal Agency of scientific organizations (FANO), the head of which has appointed former Deputy Finance Minister Mikhail Kotyukov. Although the issues of state policy in the field of science were controlled by the Ministry of education, the lion’s share of funds for basic research (47 billion over three years) gave another new organization — the Russian scientific Fund.

The scientists met the new structure of science management with a heavy pessimism. How to conduct research, not having access to the budget and administrative management in institutions? And most importantly, no one understood what science wants to state with this bizarre control scheme. But then the President has again reduced the degree of dissatisfaction, announcing moratoriums: FANO year had no right to dismiss Directors and to transfer the property of the RAS in the Treasury for future unknown use.

By the beginning of 2015, the moratorium ended and FANO began full management of scientific institutions. A large restructuring plan of the institutes, although it is still unclear how to combine them or close them, if you have not carried out an expert evaluation of their work. Nevertheless, the beginning of the dismissal of Directors without the consent of the leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences, mergers between academic institutions from different areas into a single legal entity.

For example, in Kabardino-Balkaria tried to forcibly drive into one regional center, historians, philologists, mathematicians and biologists, including the Baksan neutrino Observatory. The new structure of FANO was appointed to lead the 73-year-old Peter Ivanov, Director of the Institute of Informatics and problems of regional management. Dissertation Council, which was headed by Ivanov, was a leader among academic institutions in the number of fake dissertations. For that, in fact, was closed. While neutrino Observatory and the Institute of ecology strayed from acquisitions, remaining under pressure agreed to the merger.

Plans for the next five years

And recently the Ministry of education has developed and introduced two important new document: the draft government regulation “On approval of the Program of fundamental scientific research in the Russian Federation for the long term” and the draft departmental order “On approval of methodological recommendations on the distribution of subsidies provided by Federal government agencies performing public work in the sphere of scientific-research and scientific-technical activities”.

The first of them is simply unfeasible. For example, it is planned to increase the number of publications in Web of Science journals in the five years to 31%, and research funding, the results of which these publications appear to grow only 16% over the same five years. That is money adjusted for inflation will be less, and good results should be a third more.

However, to achieve sudden and massive growth of high-quality publications, only increasing money for research at times. China, for example, since 1999, annually raised funds for research and development by 20%. From 2007 to 2011, funding increased from $102 billion to $180 billion. as a result, Chinese scientists are now ranked second in the world in publications, in ten years, increasing them seven times. In Russia, for the same 2007-2011 spending on science increased from approximately $26 billion to $33 billion, which only allows you to maintain the level of 32-33 thousand publications per year.

In addition, the program of fundamental research earlier formed “from below”: the proposals came from the scientists themselves and then takes the form of governmental orders, as it is difficult to imagine that the official of the Ministry knows exactly which studies should be carried out. Now this principle is violated.

The second document, “guidelines”, makes it clear that the number of researchers will have to reduce. Evaluation of the Central Council of trade unions of workers of the RAS, even a temporary financing within the framework of the state assignment will be provided no more than 30% of research workers: the document spelled out a complicated scheme of remuneration of scientific workers FANO, the implementation of which requires about 250 billion rubles, while the budget of the FANO — 83 billion remaining after the reduction, the researchers will increase the number of publications in WoS by a third, if and when the current number of scientists do not work?

Besides, if earlier the basic financing institutions were allocated within the estimates, it is now 50% of the budget they have to get the competition. Meanwhile, basic funding, and so small, it ensures the survival of research groups. The complete work carried out where there is additional funding from other programs and grants. With the reduction of guaranteed money half not that research planning will be impossible, you cannot make it to the next contest.

Does not benefit anyone

The Ministry of education and FANO constantly meet and interact with public research organisations, like the Council for science of the MES and of the Society for scientific workers. The Ministry and FANO is among the most open to dialogue departments. That is, scientists the opportunity to bring their idea to officials there. And to influence the outcome is not possible, because decisions are made there and not with those with whom there is a dialogue. And what exactly scientists do not understand. And it turns out that reform in its current form is not the beneficiary, some victims.

Putin, of course, again at the last moment to intervene and mitigate spelled out in the new document requirements. But the plan of General reconstruction of the Russian science it is to draw may not: this plan can only be born in dialogue between scientists and the authors of the reform. But now the last in the public field there, scientists will continue to write alarmist letters to the head of the government Dmitry Medvedev, lamenting about wasted time and lost money and wait for the new shocks.

The authors ‘ point of view, articles which are published in the section “Opinions” may not coincide with ideas of editorial.

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