Defense goes on the offensive – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The Higher Attestation Commission (HAC) under the Russian Ministry of Education and Science is improving the procedure for scientific certification. The latest decisions of the Higher Attestation Commission, as well as new proposals from the ministry, should make life easier for potential candidates and doctors of sciences, making the process of obtaining a degree more transparent and efficient.

The latest innovations in the work of the Higher Attestation Commission were made public during its plenary session. First of all, they concerned the indicators of the publication activity of applicants for scientific degrees and candidates for members of dissertation councils.

It is proposed to clarify the criteria for scientific articles that should first of all be published in journals and which are included in the list of peer-reviewed publications, formed on the basis of the recommendation of the Higher Attestation Commission. Editions from the list will now be ranked, which is also proposed to be taken into account when accepting dissertations for defense and when selecting experts to work in dissertation councils. At the same time, the possibility of submitting works indexed by the Russian Science Citation Index database or international databases is retained. It is assumed that these changes should come into force in September 2023 after the development and approval of the relevant regulatory legal acts.

The HAC has prepared a methodology and scale for the distribution of peer-reviewed publications included in the list of peer-reviewed publications. According to Igor Matskevich, Chief Academic Secretary of the Higher Attestation Commission under the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the publications will be divided into three categories – K-1, K-2, K-3 in the corresponding proportion of 25/50/25 in descending order of the journal’s integral rating index.

“One-Time Advice”

In the near future, other changes may appear in the scientific attestation procedure. We are talking about proposals that were made public in early October by the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Valery Falkov.

At a meeting of the Committee of Advisors of the Higher Attestation Commission, the minister said that the current situation requires more active measures in the field of training highly qualified scientific personnel.

Within three years – from 2019 to 2021 – the number of dissertation defenses in Russia increased by 24 percent

“There is a sharp increase in the need to scale up the training of young scientists, candidates and doctors of sciences in priority areas of science and technology development,” he said. commissions, including expert councils. Thirdly, the task of the effectiveness of postgraduate studies still remains an acute problem.

The minister outlined a number of initiatives. The first is to work out the possibility of expanding the forms of dissertation councils being created, thereby increasing the availability of attestation of scientific personnel. In particular, to carry out work on studying the experience of leading scientific and educational organizations that successfully implement on their basis the practice of awarding academic degrees by “one-time dissertation councils” of five to nine people. “This is the world experience in conducting a defense. It makes it possible to attract scientists from among specialists in the profile of a particular dissertation being defended to such councils,” Valery Falkov explained.

After consultations among experts and a broad discussion of the initiative with the scientific community on the issue of introducing “one-time dissertations” for a limited number of scientific specialties, the Higher Attestation Commission, together with the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, will prepare the relevant regulations.

The minister also proposed to consider the possibility of defending Ph.D. At the first stage, this opportunity will be provided only to those who defend themselves while studying at graduate school or within a year after graduation.

According to Valery Falkov, it is advisable to start this initiative with dissertations in the field of technical, physical and mathematical and other natural sciences, since it is there that significant experimental research is required, which takes a lot of time for graduate students. Then the plenum of the Higher Attestation Commission can determine to which scientific specialties this can be extended.

The third initiative is to improve the quality, objectivity and efficiency of examination of dissertations submitted to the Higher Attestation Commission. The minister proposed to make wider use of the possibilities of remote technologies and form a wide pool of experts in each of the 360 ​​scientific specialties. It may include members of the expert councils of the Higher Attestation Commission (there are about two thousand of them), experts from the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Science Foundation, and others. Dissertations submitted to the HAC will be submitted for consideration to three experts from this pool, who will have 10 days to study the work.

Valery Falkov instructed the department for attestation of scientific and scientific and pedagogical workers of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia and the Higher Attestation Commission to work out the voiced initiatives with the scientific and pedagogical community.

The process is underway. At the last plenary session, the members of the Higher Attestation Commission discussed the proposal to involve more specialists in the work of expert councils, the creation of “one-time councils” for defending a dissertation, and the possibility of defending a candidate’s dissertation based on a scientific report. These innovations will be finally formulated and considered in December 2022 at the next meeting of the Higher Attestation Commission.

For a qualitative assessment of dissertations, it is proposed to form a pool of experts in each of the 360 ​​scientific specialties

Over the past two years, significant changes have already taken place in the activities of the Higher Attestation Commission and dissertation councils. The minimum required number of members of a dissenting council was reduced from 19 to 11 people. Dissertation councils, including doctoral councils, were allowed to include actively working scientific candidates of sciences and persons with equivalent PhD degrees (up to 25 percent of the composition). It was also allowed to defend a doctoral dissertation “on the basis of a set of scientific works”, that is, “on a report”, without writing the text of a dissertation. It was noted that these measures have significantly expanded the ability of organizations to create dissent councils, which means that they have given additional opportunities to applicants for academic degrees. Due to the implementation of these measures over the course of three years – from 2019 to 2021 – the number of dissertation defenses in Russia increased by 24 percent.

At the second meeting of the Higher Attestation Commission under the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, the proposed changes in the procedure for scientific certification were discussed. Photo: Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation

Changes in the system of attestation of personnel of higher scientific qualification also affected the procedure for granting the right to independently award scientific degrees. Now this right can be used by a larger number of organizations that occupy leading positions in the field of science and education (federal or national research universities, higher education organizations that have the right to approve independently established requirements, national research centers, state research centers).

It will also remain possible to grant the right to independently award scientific degrees to leading scientific and educational organizations that have authority in the training of scientific and scientific-pedagogical personnel, by including them in the list by the Government of the Russian Federation in accordance with the established criteria. The simplification of the procedure will apply only to those organizations that have previously confirmed their status as a leading platform. At the same time, in order to take advantage of the autonomy, organizations must make an independent, informed decision. In addition to creating their own dissertation councils, councils created by orders of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science can continue to work on their basis.

At the same time, the control function over the sphere of independent awarding of scientific degrees has been significantly strengthened. The fact is that Federal Law No. 397-FZ, adopted in October of this year, provides additional powers to the Government of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia.

In contrast to the previously established rules, at present, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Russian Federation will provide for the grounds and procedure for excluding an organization from the list that provides the right to independently award academic degrees. In turn, the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia from 2022 is vested with the authority to control, as well as to suspend or resume the activities of independently formed councils.

Control functions will allow assessing compliance with the criteria for dissertations, checking the quality of work and compliance with the requirements of the Higher Attestation Commission for the scientific qualifications of members of dissertation councils.

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Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation


Source: Российская газета by rg.ru.

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