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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Has Russian Science Hit the Skids?
26 January 2010 1:14 pm
Russia's research output has continued to slide since the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly 20 years ago and produced only 127,000 papers, 2.6% of the world's total, over a recent 5 year period, according to a report published today by Thomson Reuters. Once a science and technology powerhouse, Russia now ranks behind such countries as China (8.4% of the world total), Canada (4.7%), Australia (3.0%), India (2.9%), and only slightly ahead of the Netherlands (2.5%). The report blames chronic underfunding by the Russian government, an aging scientific workforce, lack of public respect for science, and a devastating brain drain in the early 1990s that saw more than 80,000 researchers leave the country in search of greener pastures, mostly in western Europe.
Among the different research fields, former Russian strengths, including physics, space science, chemistry, engineering, computer science, and materials science, have shown the sharpest declines.
While fields in biology, medicine, and the environment have shown modest growth. Russia retains strong research collaborations with prominent institutes around the world, although over the past 5 years researchers in the United States have overtaken those in Germany as their most common collaborators.
In October last year, 170 expatriate Russian scientists signed a letter to President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin complaining about "the catastrophic conditions of fundamental science." The letter urged increased government funding for research, particularly in critical areas, and international support for Russian research projects. Beleaguered Russian researchers are still waiting for the cavalry to arrive.