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Ministry Proposes New Evaluation System For Science Institutes

The Education and Science Ministry has proposed a new system for assessing the work of scientific organizations that establishes special criteria for evaluating work in specific fields.

In a document published on the site regulation.gov.ru, the ministry proposed dropping the current system, which uses a standard evaluation for all scientific institutions. With the new approach different scientific organizations will be divided into several "reference groups" and evaluated based on separate criteria, Kommersant reported.

The ministry also proposed conducting the evaluations every year, as opposed to every five years under the current system.

Every five years, however, scientific and research institutions will be evaluated by an intercollegiate panel and placed into one of the three categories — "leader", "stable" or "lacking a scientific profile and development prospects."

The organizations placed in the category, designed for organizations that "don't demonstrate significant scientific results," may be reorganized, shut down or placed under new management.

According to a January efficiency study conducted by the Russian Academy of Science, only one out of 370 institutions, the Vladikavkaz Center for Scythian and Alanic Studies, was found inefficient. Twelve were placed in a middle category and the rest were given high ratings.

A study of higher education institutions conducted by the Education and Science Ministry in 2012 said 136 of 502 Russian colleges and universities were inefficient.

Yevgeny Oshchenko, a representative from the Society of Science Workers, says that there are efficient and inefficient research groups in each institution and fears that good groups could be shut down if they are at a bad organizations. "When they evaluate an institute as a whole it's like taking the average temperature at a hospital," he said.

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