VAK: Protecting High Standards in Science


On the role played by the High Attestation Commission of the Russian Federation (VAK) of Russia in managing domestic science, criteria, and professional selection, as well as the role the of scientific periodicals in this process; Acta Naturae talked to the president of this commission, academician Mikhail Kirpichnikov of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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Science as a systematic study of natural objects and social and humanitarian phenomena does not have any well-defined national framework or boundaries. Science separated from the international community withers and dies. Due to the supranationality of science, the role of scientific periodicals, especially in our country, is constantly under discussion. In particular, the question arises of whether it is possible to use formalized publication requirements to estimate the state of scientific research in Russia. And how extensive is the need for national and international periodicals? this is a rather complicated question. I’ll take a roundabout approach to the subject. My guess is that the formalization level will always change. Many things may not be formalized in principle, not only in science, but in acts of creativity on the whole, largely (but not only) because of their creative constituent. this is why this discussion will never end. Indeed, it is simpler to formalize all things, to call for “police” control of the “scientific movement” in accordance with current legislation than to create a regular expert system. I consider it essential to estimate the quality level, especially when speaking about an outstanding specialists, by formal quotation and the impact-factor of the journal where his or her articles are published. However, a non-formalized estimation is important as well. thus, I stand for balance between formal requirements and a normal expert system. It ought to be noted that the expertise level and points will change with time. But a definite number of points will remain beyond formalization. that is the major problem.

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