Posted 3 августа 2021,, 12:51

Published 3 августа 2021,, 12:51

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Slaves of reporting and blind copying: how the "stick system" is ruining Russian science

Slaves of reporting and blind copying: how the "stick system" is ruining Russian science

3 августа 2021, 12:51
Having badly copied the Western system of control over scientists, the officials only accelerated the degradation of domestic science.

Sociologists Anna Kuleshova and Denis Podvoisky published an article about the harmful consequences of bureaucratization of Russian science based on scientometric indicators - "The paradoxes of publication activity in the field of modern Russian science: genesis, diagnosis, trends".

Experts cited many facts proving that the reform of Russian science, which, by the way, was copied from Western models, led to the most disastrous consequences. And not only because of the purely Russian specifics, in which the copying of someone else's takes place externally, without affecting the deep foundations of domestic psychology, but also because in the West this methodology has long been recognized as erroneous, that is, Russian officials copied what is long overdue throw it into a landfill. The article by sociologists, in particular, states:

“In the last two decades in the Russian university and academic world under the influence of permanent institutional transformations (and as a reaction to them), there has been the emergence of many new behavioral practices, including in the field of publication activity of scientists. The implementation of the President's May Decrees legitimized the transfer of all the successes and failures of foreign scientometrics to the domestic soil, additionally contributing to the intensification of the processes of managerialization, bureaucratization and McDonaldization as trends in the development of Russian science. Domestic publications-predators (Predatory Science Journals) appeared, followed by black and white lists of journals, the need for retraction (recall from publication) of articles that violate publication ethics, the number of texts in general increased, the border between science and its simulation was erased. Scientific articles published by Russian authors, their quality and quantity can be viewed as a reflection of the general and specific disadvantage of the community that produces them, as well as evidence of the decomposition of the traditional system of social "perception" of scientific work and the reputational mechanisms operating within its framework. At some point, ethical behavior in the scientific field turned out to be inappropriate.

Russian scientist at the end of the second decade of the XXI century. does not differ much in terms of working and living conditions from their contemporaries / compatriots - workers in the health and education systems. A person who comes to see a doctor in an ordinary Russian polyclinic today often encounters a typical situation: the doctor spends most of his appointment time not at all on examining the patient, but on the production of documentation accompanying the provision of medical services (it does not matter whether this process is carried out with the help of computer or manually). The patient has a desire to exclaim: please pay attention to me!

Sometimes it seems that the doctor is communicating not with the patient, but with someone else - on his (very formal) reason, without taking his eyes off the monitor screen or outpatient card. One can only guess to what extent what is written in medical forms will reflect the actual state of the organism. And what is the "benefit" of all this - will the correct diagnosis be made, the correct treatment prescribed, and the disease conquered? - also remains unknown. Doctors can make one and not another diagnosis, based on considerations of its "profitability" (insurance companies pay for some diseases, others do not), so as not to spoil the statistics, so that the retired patient has enough money for treatment, etc.

A similar situation is observed in science - scientific texts are written not because there is a need for an increase in scientific knowledge, but because they help to solve problems of a non-scientific nature, being part of multi-page reports designed to record the results of the professional activities of scientists, so that the university can then prove its effectiveness in quantity publications. A university teacher - a cog in bureaucratic machinery - is engaged in endless "digitization" of student achievements. At the same time, what happens in the classroom, the educational process itself acquires the de facto status of a secondary and little interesting event, since students quickly understand that the criterion of their success in the emerging system of relations is not knowledge, useful skills, etc. ( as in the case of a patient - health, relief of suffering), and a point, a number, an index or a set of those, a rating. These values should be "indicators of something", that is, to show something to someone, to testify about something.

In fact, such measurement products speak only for themselves, hiding behind an illusory or semi-illusory "metric" facade a specific meaningful emptiness, or "fullness" - but not with what is needed. It can be assumed that neither the doctor nor the professor filling out endless pieces of paper or their electronic counterparts are not the culprit of the current state of affairs, since it was imposed on them "from the outside." They themselves usually assess it sharply negatively, considering themselves "hostages of the system", "slaves of the enraged printer", blaming the ubiquitous bureaucracy for everything, suspecting that the whole situation is so unhealthy that it can be considered a violation of human rights. Representatives of the administrative apparatus along the entire hierarchical vertical - from high bosses to ordinary clerks - usually use some (common) arguments in defense of the established rules and their bizarre logic.

The motive of justifying the system certainly corresponds to the corporate interest of this group, if only because it substantiates the claims of its members to status, power resources and jobs. But they can hardly be blamed for deliberately initiating manifestations of organizational life bordering on absurdity. The absurdity or dysfunctional consequences are generated by the system as if by itself - with the direct participation of hundreds and thousands of actors, but without the direct influence of the "malicious" will of one of them in particular. This situation is aggravated by the fact that “the history of science has always been the history of how its world became less and less transparent to external observers, but more and more relevant. The more important science became, the less comprehensible it was to non-scientists. This process was accompanied by the transformation of interactions between the academic world and its social environment. "

The well-known Russian sociologist Sergei Belanovsky extrapolates this situation to other spheres of Russian reality:

“I would like to draw your attention to some similar phenomena in other areas. For example, the "cane system" in the police. Ella Paneah wrote about this, and not only she. A question with a beard, I remember a Soviet-era newspaper publication on the same topic. The struggle has been going on for decades, but things are still there.

There is also an interesting place in V. Suvorov's book "The Liberator". I am not discussing Suvorov's concept here and am not going to enter into disputes over it. I am quoting only a relevant passage.

"Our system needs reports, reports and achievements. It stands for that. Reports on the destruction of thousands of German tanks and aircraft in the early days of the war were so false and unconvincing that the country's political leadership switched to territorial indicators, as the most convincing. From this, assaults were born. cities and heights (with great losses - SB)".

By the way, it is not Suvorov himself who says this, but a certain army captain whom he quotes.

In all these cases, the question arises - why? I will try to answer in the logic of managers. Why the stick system? Because otherwise the police will stop catching violators altogether. And this already took place in the 90s. Are innocent people caught for reporting? This is only partly true, the question is greatly exaggerated. But let it be better than nothing.

Are scientists forced to publish despite the decline in the quality of the scientific product? I agree that there are costs, but let it be better than they, for the most part, just sit back and receive a salary, sometimes not bad. We passed. (The latter, I confirm about myself, is true. At the Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where I worked for 15 years, 20 percent of employees actually worked, the rest, at best, did something on the spot, such as from time to time to calculate something). So it's better to work like this.

Assaults of cities and heights with great losses? Otherwise, they would not have won the war at all. You can't run a war on fake information.

Then why does our system need reports, reports and achievements? Why can't you let go of the reins? Now this is an interesting question. Sociological. It would be nice to dig deeper.

As for the transformation of scientometric indicators into control indicators, this is not only ours. And, probably, not only in science.

In all these cases, behind the scenes there is a deep distrust of people. Unfortunately, it is justified in relation to our country. But where, how and why trust exists (for example, in the Israeli army) - it would be good to understand..."

In the academic networking community, this post has generated a lot of responses. Here is only one that partly explains the reason for this phenomenon:

“In the absence of moral values in society, when no one believes anyone, the cane system helps to create the illusion of fruitful work. The fact that this is an illusion is evident from the state of society. Only the problem is not solved by improving accounting systems. The problem is solved by realizing the lack of moral values in society as the first - to solve all subsequent problems of society. A long generational journey, provided that older generations can offer younger generations the right ethical standards and ways to establish them as a priority. Judging by the state of the country, there was no such awareness in society and there is no..."