In 1985 COMECON countries published more than 64 thousand documents indexed in the US-produced Web of Science (WoS) database, of which only a handful were co-authored with American scientists. USSR alone accounted for almost 40 thousand publications, or 4.4% of the total world output, not taking into consideration the numerous quality Soviet journals missing from the Web of Science. By 2013 Russia’s share had dropped to only 1.6%, and all former partner communist states switched either to the EU or USA as their main collaborators. This article aims to provide a brief statistical overview of these massive changes by combining bibliometric data with some general development indicators and historical remarks.
What happens with Russian mathematics in terms of metric parameters? Where do Russian mathematicians work, where do they publish, how well are they cited?
Technology, greed, a lack of clear rules and norms, hypercompetitiveness, and a certain amount of corruption have resulted in confusion and anarchy in the world of scientific communication. Not too long ago, scientific publication was largely in the hands of university publishers and nonprofit scientific societies, most of which were controlled by the academic community. Academic conferences were sponsored by universities or disciplinary organizations of academics and scientists. Most of this was done on a nonprofit basis and largely controlled by small groups of respected professors at the main research universities, largely in North America and Western Europe. It was all quite “gentlemanly” controlled by a male-dominated scientific elite.
I argue for a more flexible, more realistic approach to change. We cannot expect all faculty overnight becoming top scholars in their fields. Unlike highly selective universities in countries with huge pools of talent, we cannot recruit the best only. But we can allow for more diversity in academic careers and use our strengths. We need to look for unique and idiosyncratic people like Susan, Michael, and Tony, and let them grow as scholars in their peculiar ways. Let us call this the authentic improvement theory. 7
Every university which exists in an environment where English is not the first language is going to encounter obstacles in communicating with its international students. While developing towards a polylingual solution might seem preferable, in reality universities choose a less costly decision — English in addition to the local language(s), since it is the de facto lingua franca of international education.
Nonetheless, specific challenges and ways to address international students greatly depend on how widespread the knowledge of English is in the country and university environment. For example, the Netherlands and Sweden have many natural opportunities for universities to recruit people who will not experience the language barrier with international students. However, many other countries, including Russia, have very different starting conditions: according to the 2010 census, only 5.3% of the Russian population indicated knowledge of English. Of course it calls for deliberate extra efforts aimed at developing information channels and English interface of university services.
Nowadays universities do not need to be convinced that their student support services should take into account international students as well. However, a specific configuration of the support system depends on both external and internal factors. A lot is shaped by the context: national regulation, predominant language(s) in the country, changing demands of the job market; but no less important is the university’s strategy, i.e., the decisions on how to develop while taking the context into account.
Language barrier is the first and major hindrance in accessing the system of student support. The second obstacle is the lack of flexible interface for every university service, which would take into account the diversity of student body. In such circumstances, and when the number of international students is relatively small, it is often easier and more effective to start with a centralised approach, as it allows to ensure adequate and timely support of predictable quality to incoming international students.
However, despite the impression that this way a student can resolve all the issues in one place, it is a quasi-onestop service because the central office is not a provider of university services but a mediator between students and relevant units. Consequently, it becomes the bottleneck which slows processes down when the number of international students grows. Moreover, a separate track of support creates an isolated bubble for international students, providing fewer possibilities for intercultural experience and, thus, increasing the risk of creating a split university.
HSE Faculty of Mathematics invited its first bachelor students in 2008. The program aims at providing a fundamental mathematical background as well as wide opportunities for its application: from physics, economics and computer science to actuary and financial analysis. Below we describe the problems encountered by the Faculty of Mathematics while building a new mathematical curriculum, and the solutions found. To this end, we first need to recap the principles of mathematical education in traditional Russian universities.
We continue a series of notes on scientometrics of the former Eastern Bloc member states, started in HERB №2 (see “25 years after the fall: indicators of postcommunist science” by Ivan Sterligov and Alfia Enikeeva). This essay compares publication output in broad subject fields for all ex-COMECON states, examining complex dynamics of transition across a wide range of different economies and cultures. Presented data highlights major differences between several subgroups of countries.
Our analysis has confirmed the existence of gender wage gap in the Russian academia: on average, male faculty members earn 16-18% more than their female colleagues. Higher Education in Russia and Beyond / №4(14) / Winter 2017 12 Similar results are valid for the comparison of hourly wages. Nevertheless, gender wage gap in the academia in Russia is below national average. Controlled for position, academic degree and work experience, men’s wage ‘premium’ over women decreases to 8%. The main reasons for the wage gap are gender differences in position and seniority, the fact that men are more likely to have an academic degree and on average have longer work experience (both total and in teaching) than women. The problem of ‘glass ceiling’ does exist at Russian HEIs: it is more difficult for women to raise higher in the academic hierarchy, though this might partially be due to self-selection
This short paper is aimed at demonstrating that the economic logic inherent in the new model of academic contract collides with the collective structure of academic organizations in Russia. The paper is based on the results of in-depth interviews with top-level administrators and academic leaders gathered in 2013 at eight state universities located in three federal districts (Central, Southern, Siberian). While examining the process of reform implementation, we also focused on various interpretations of “academic money” (money circulating in the higher education environment). As long as material rewards were considered as instruments for performance management inside the academia, the price and value of academic work among university staff was also questioned.
People with technological educational background are often skeptical about the humanities. This is first of all caused by labor market inequalities: people employed in the IT industry, which requires an analytical mind and appropriate skills, are usually better paid than their peers representing the humanities. Secondly, people with a logical mind, especially students of leading technological universities, are used to finding logic everywhere, while the humanities are rare based on strict logic. In this paper we will explain why humanities are important for engineering specialists on the whole and for IT people in particular and how to make tech students interested in such subjects.
The Republic of Moldova has a long history of shifting borders, and a short history as an independent state. Higher education only expanded during the Soviet era, which saw 9 public higher education institutions come into existence between 1926 and 1988. On the one hand, ample state funding for higher education allowed an unprecedented growth in access to higher education, a well-developed technical and material base, and internationally comparable educational standards. On the other hand, high level of centralization of the Soviet educational system made it static and unable to adequately respond to the changing needs of a dynamic labor market. Strict educational centralization led to bureaucratization of management, authoritarianism, excessive uniformity, lack of understanding of local conditions, stifling of ‘bottom-up’ initiative, and lack of academic mobility. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, participation in higher education was still the third lowest among all Soviet republics.
With the new Federal Law on Education introduced in Russia in the late 2012, postgraduate training became the third level of higher education. The framework of PhD education has changed. Before 2013, doctoral education, which was one of the systems that had been inherited from the Soviet period, was officially considered as a track to academia, while now it works in a wider scope of highly qualified personnel training. But does this mean that the days when it was thought that all PhDs should become academics are gone? We have addressed this question to PhD students themselves and are reporting data from a recent survey conducted by Higher School of Economics’ Centre for Institutional Research in several Russian universities this spring. Thirteen Russian universities participated in the survey administrated online. Most of them are considered to be leading institutions of higher education in Russia. Overall 2221 students from different fields filled in the questionnaire (26% representing social sciences, 8% – education, 28% – mathematical and natural sciences, 12% – humanities, 26% – engineering and technological sciences). 51% of the respondents were males, 16% were part-time students. We asked the respondents about their future career plans, their willingness to find a job at their home university or to continue studies abroad. We counted weighted average for all indicators to neutralize the differences in size of the institutions in the sample.
Traditions of mathematical education in Russia on both school and university level, research done by Russian scientists and its impact on the development of mathematics is considered by many a unique and valuable part of the world cultural heritage. In the present paper, we describe the development of mathematical education in Russian universities after 1955 — a period that proved to be most fruitful.