Published in: Šipka, P. et al. (2002). Preliminarna analiza rezultata konkursa MNTR Vlade Srbije za osnovna istraživanja u oblasti društvenih nauka 2001/2002. Elektronski radni dokumenti ERD 01/02

Preliminary analysis of the results of the 2001/2002 competition of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Technological Development of Serbia for basic research in social sciences: statement and arguments

Pero Šipka et al.

Center for Evaluation in Education and Science

The decisions made at the 2001/2002 Competition of Serbian Ministry of Science were evaluated by using bibliometric data available in SocioFakt and EINUS. The decision-'making procedure was assessed on scientometric grounds, leaving its legal aspects aside.

It was found that:

  • The procedure of determining competency of applicants was incomplete and arbitrary.
  • Assessment of competency of applicants was based on incorrect classification of national professional journals.
  • Certain number of project leaders who won support is obviously not competent for the role. This makes investments in their project dubious, and caused the harm to other winners, since allocation of finances was made from the same limited budget.
  • Conditions of Competition and decisions made left a huge number of competent and productive researchers in the public academic institutions, mainly university faculties, without any support.
  • Finances were primarily allocated to the institutes instead to faculties. Considering their previous research output, it was ineffective. It is also damaging for the development of national science.
  • Distribution of finances among universities is inconsistent with the differences in their real research output, which is ineffective from economic point of view, and dangerous from social point of view.

Each arguments is substantiated by a detailed empirical evidence given in the second part of the analysis. It is concluded that the decision making applied is contrary to the scientometric theory and to the practice of science budgeting in developed countries and democratic societies. The way the whole process was managed by the Ministry was also in discord with the general policy of the Serbian governmental cabinet, which in many cases demonstrated a proper care for evaluation.

The Ministry is recommended to change some decisions and correct the mistakes done. It is also advised to start initiative of establishing Fund for Science, as soon as possible and not later than before the next projects cycle starts. In democratic societies it is customary that decisions on budgeting of science are made by paragovernmental institutions. The results of the Competition and this analysis show that the Ministry, lacking proper legislation, information support, and professionals experienced in evaluation, is unable to make such a technologically demanding job done. By repeating the present procedure in the next budgetary cycle Ministry would demonstrate giving up the transformation of academic sector in Serbia.

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