MOSCOW, June 25 (RIA Novosti) – A member of the Russian Academy of Sciences has dismissed as “nonsense” a new global rating of academic research by Nature magazine, in which his academy ranked 193rd among 200 institutions.
“I’m absolutely convinced it’s nonsense, since Russian science is a world leader in many spheres [of research],” geologist Nikolai Lavyorov told RIA Novosti.
He cited the space industry, nuclear technology and Arctic research as examples.
The first instalment of Nature Publishing Index Global, released last week, ranks institutions based on the number of papers containing primary research – or studies based on original data collected by the researchers – that were published in Nature magazine and its 17 offshoots in 2012.
The Russian Academy of Sciences, with 21 publications, was at the bottom of the list, which was dominated by US institutions. The United States' Harvard University topped the rating with 369 publications – more than for all Chinese institutions, which contributed a combined 303 publications to Nature-branded magazines last year.
Russia’s poor performance in scientific ratings is an “artificially exaggerated situation,” Lavyorov said Monday.
Russia is doing enough research, but not enough to promote it in the English-speaking world, added Lavyorov.
Nature conceded the limitations of its own rating, saying in the introduction to the study that “there are many ways to assess the research output of institutions, and the Nature Publishing Index is just one that should be used alongside many.”
Russian science and academia is flagging after two decades of underfunding and a brain drain, and the country has been steadily slipping in global scientific ratings in recent years. The most vivid example is university ratings, with Russian educational establishments entirely dropping out of top 100 in the latest The Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings and not ranking above 80th slot in the Shanghai Rating in China.