In DepthRussia

Plan to grade institutes rattles Russian academy

Science  04 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6192, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6192.15

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Summary

Last month, the government body that took over management of the property and finances of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) in January published a road map for its reform. Among the measures it calls for is a formal assessment of the research effectiveness of RAS institutes. Scientists have concluded that the only reason to grade institutes is to decide which ones to close down. The timing of the road map is especially alarming given that a yearlong moratorium on any changes to the staff and property of RAS, set by President Vladimir Putin, will soon be coming to an end. Meanwhile, a draft law setting an age cap for institute directors threatens to leave many of them leaderless and vulnerable.

  • * Vladimir Pokrovsky is a writer in Moscow.