This issue of OZ is dedicated to the problems of science. Our authors analyze its social role and purposes. We are primarily concerned with problems of the Russian scientific community. Is Russian science still alive and if it is, how should it adapt itself to new realities? What should the State concentrate on and how strong should its presence be in the Russian science? Is "brain drain" as dangerous as it is described in the press? These are some of the questions addressed in the journal.
Philosopher Vitaly Kurennoi opens the discussion with an article called "The State, Capital and the World Scientific Community". Rules by which the Russian scientific community plays are deformed and ineffective, he says. He criticizes the archaic attitude prevailing among most Russian scientists who look to the state for support of their research. Kurennoi notes that Russia has to measure its support for science against budget constraints. But government priorities are largely set by its military needs, and even health care matters lag behind. Science cannot and should not count on state money and state administration, he argues, because this will lead to "self-deconstruction." Instead, fundamental science should look to international cooperation, and researchers in applied science should adapt themselves to market realities. Kurennoi describes the absence of an effective patent and copyright legislation in Russia as a major hurdle for such an adaptation. Finally, he criticizes the usual description of "brain drain" as a threat to security as one-sided and unconstructive.
We offer contributions by two former ministers and an acting top official in charge of scientific research matters. They talk about relationship between research institutions and the state from the administrative point of view.
Boris Saltykov, the first Minister of Science in post-Soviet Russia, examines merits and drawbacks of the Soviet science and technology policy. In his "Reforming Russian Science: Analysis and Prospects," Saltykov explains why the system had to be completely overhauled after radical economic reforms started in 1992. The author describes basic principles of the new innovation system. He argues that the present model of Russian science is plainly transitional and suggests feasible ways to transform this model into an effective modern institution.
His successor, academician Vladimir Fortov shares his concern about deterioration of Russian science. To turn the tide, he says, the state has to create a rescue package to save "research traditions established by hard and selfless efforts of generations of Russian scientists." The efficiency of multi-subject research in the USSR could have been compared only to the U.S., he argues, but it cost less. Vladimir Fortov’s article is based on his recent letter to president Putin.
Dr Andrey Fursenko, First Deputy Minister of Industry, Science, and Technology, compares the Soviet tradition of managing science with the role the state plays at present. In his interview for OZ, Dr Fursenko sheds light on financial aspects of innovative science policy. He talks about actual relationships between fundamental research institutions, applied science, and business. Dr Fursenko describes perspectives of integration of the Russian scientific community into the Western research tradition and discusses middle-term priorities of the state science-management policy.
Mass consciousness regards science as one entity. Dr Simon Kordonsky, head of the expert Dept of the presidential Administration, asserts in "The Crises of Science and the Science Mythology" that this is not quite accurate. In fact, we have various types of science: the one that secures everyday human activity in the material world, i. e., applied, or techno-science; pop-science (phenomenon equivalent to pop-culture); and fundamental research activity traditionally understood as "abstract" science. The idea of the crisis of science (which, as the author mentions, is not unique to the Russian society) in Russian mass consciousness reflects interaction between techno-science, pop-science, and theoretical science.
Does scientific research have to be controlled by society and the government, or it is up to the ivory tower inhabitants and their private clients todesignate the limits? We publish a translated chapter of Francis Fukuyama’s recent book "Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution" which deals with ethical problems of genetic engineering. Dr Fukuyama is the author of "The End of History and the Last Man" and other bestsellers.
Yuri Kuznetsov in his paper about state budget financing of fundamental and applied scientific research shows that simple increasing budget expenditures could not improve the situation. His work contains vast statistical data on the present financial situation in Russian science.
Economist Dr Natalya Ivanova of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations compares state-supported and venture funded research. In the 20th century, the author argues, dynamic interaction between research based on these two types of financing has become the major driving force for scientific and technological progress. Dr Ivanova sees globalization as both a new opportunity and a challenge for science development.
Philosopher Edward Kirsky reflects on existence of what he calls "two parallel worlds" in science, i.e., bureaucracy, and researchers. In Russia, they barely communicate to each other, Dr Kirsky notes.
Mikhail Arapov of the Institute for System Analysis welcomes the Russian government’s decision to concentrate its support on high-tech science and leave the rest to business investments and research grants. But decisions on the restructuring have to be based upon reliable information on research and development (R&D). The author warns that reforming the related statistical system is prerequisite to serious restructuring. He compares data on R&D available through official publications to alternative databases offered by organizations responsible for grant distribution and monitoring. The former, says the author, offer a general overview that do not allow for making proper investment decisions, while the latter provide specific information about particular researchers’ contributions.
Russia possesses the greatest bulk of natural resources in the world. Yet, it cannot transform this wealth into economic, political, and social benefits. Andrey Vaganov in his "Searching for the Science and Technology Policy" says that this policy has been at the core of any given state’s success for the last hundred years. Russian policymakers’ recognition of the trend could improve the situation. Mr Vaganov edits "NG-Science" supplement to the "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" daily.
Sociologist Alexander Bikbov of the Institute of Sociology in "The Science and the State" reminds that authorities always use science as a means to maintain their power, but the way or style of how they do it varies. While recognizing the importance of science for increasing the potential of the state, the current Russian government underestimates the value of scientists, as sociological studies indicate.
Gavriil Khromov and Svetlana Chernozub offer an insight into the history of the Russian Academy of Science. Gavriil Khromov of the All-Russian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information in "The Russian Academy of Sciences: History, Myth, and Reality" tells a story of degeneration of a once efficient and purposeful structure. Academy’s influence has been gradually diminishing due to the propagation of universities in the last decade. Rich with historical data, the article calls for reforms at the Academy.
Philosopher Svetlana Chernozub of the Institute for System Analysis reflects on the history of creation, intrinsic character, and problems of modernizing domestic science. Unlike in Europe, science in Russia did not evolve naturally as an outcome of some social activity; instead, it was imposed on the Russian society by the authorities. At some point, however, the "flimsy child" of the Russian system grew up to become a viable institution, the fact that was overlooked by the later-days policymakers, the author believes.
Intellectual human resources that at the Soviet times were concentrated in the domain of science, started to disperse into various market-oriented fields in the 1990-s. This uncontrollable process was expanding "the area of civilization," as Dr Mikhail Kovalchuk puts it in his interview for OZ. Dr Kovalchuk is the director of the Shubnikov Institute of Crystallography, which has successfully adapted itself to the market.
‘Sci-cities’ (‘naukogrady’) created by the Soviet authorities were designed as centers of arms technology oriented science. We publish two essays and a concise overview of these unusual settlements.
An excerpt from geographer Boris Rodoman’s book tells the story of how the tradition of ‘sci-cities’ was born and developed. Dr Rodoman’s research interests are in the field of theoretical geography and human ecology.
Creation of Novosibirsk Scientific Center turned out to be an unparalleled socio-cultural experiment in the Russian history. Several eminent Soviet scientists came up with the idea of building Academgorodok (the Academia township) near Novosibirsk. This created a unique scientific community. Viktor Doroshenko of the Novosibirsk State University, Igor Korshever of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and physicist Viktor Matizen — all residents of Akademgorodok — tell its story in the article called "From the City of Science to the Zero City."
Sergey Egerev in "Dialogues with Diaspora" notes that "brain drain" has its good side. It contributed greatly to the formation of Russian expatriate scientist community. Mr Egerev — an advisor on science and technology at the presidential administration — offers interviews with Russian scientists and researchers living permanently abroad.
Andrey Vaganov in "The Western Vacuum Cleaner for Russian Science" is more pessimistic. He warns of a danger of turning the Russian scientific community into a research affiliate of western businesses.
Viktor Ilyasov, a former intelligence officer, describes how technological espionage affected Russian research capability.
Dr Irina Marshakova-Shaikevich of the Institute of Philosophy in Moscow offers an in-depth bibliometric study of the Russian contribution to the progress of world science. The study is based on databases of National Science Indicators on Diskette (NSIOD 2000). It contains comparative analysis of the number and citation indexes of scientific publications covering 160 countries throughout the world.
Dr Helena Mirskaya of the Institute for the History of Science and Technology reveals results of sociological surveys conducted in the Russian Academy of Science in the 1990-ies. The surveys covered the best of the country’s researchers and research teams. Dr Mirskaya notes that while80percent of respondents say that the Academy needs to be reformed, only 2 percent believe this reform will bring positive results.
In the "Besides" section of the journal, historian Nikolai Mitrokhin and legal expert Sergei Burjanov continue discussion on the matters of state-church relations started earlier by OZ. Mr Mitrokhin writes about Russian Orthodox Church and Greek Catholics in West Ukraine, and Mr Burjanov weighs the impact of state-church relations on the freedom of conscience and on modern democratic state.
The "Lifestyles" section of the journal issue contains an essay by Sergey Majorov on ‘chelnoki’ (‘shuttle-traders’ involved in small-scale import operations of consumer goods). Playwright Sergey Kaluzhanov writes about Russian peddlers. Sociologist Alexander Kirillov shares his findings on Kaliningrad — a region turned into a flea market and drifting away from Russia.
In the "Country of OZ," Alexander Nikulin offers the first part of a fascinating monologue by a Kuban peasant Mikhail Golub. Golub’s tale reflects almost extinct archetypes of Southern Russia population mentality. We also publish a play by Ekaterina Narshi — a documentary piece about Murmansk in August 2000. Dialogues in the play reflect the impact of the "Kursk" submarine disaster on Murmansk residents.