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Open letter from the Academic council at the Institute of Balkan Studies and Centre of Thracology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

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FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER IN BULGARIAN IN PDF

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Open letter
from the Academic council
at the Institute of Balkan Studies and Centre of Thracology
at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

 

*This is not a full translation but a synthesis of the document. There are missing explanatory parts from the text as well as the Introduction of the letter.

The letter addressed to the Minister of Education and Science concerns the recently accepted criteria of evaluation of the scientific outputs in the field of Humanities. The outlined concerns and proposed solutions are based on the following documents:

  • Criteria of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for the ‘’factors for evaluation of research activity’’
  • The Ministry of Education and Science’s ‘‘Criteria and indicators for evaluation of research activity of the organisations’’ taken from the Handbook for monitoring and evaluation of research activity of the higher education institutions and scientific organisations
  • The overall activity of the Fund ‘‘Scientific Research’’

The Institute expresses concern of the omnipresent application of a predominantly Anglo-Saxon based criteria, argued to be more applicable for scientific disciplines rather than for Humanities research on a regional level.

 

Further to the problematic concepts of evaluation of the scientific product and the regional character of the research of the Institute, it is also argued that the desire to publish research indexed in Scopus and Web of Science can lead to discrimination of Cyrillic as a language of science. 

The emerging trend for encouragement of research to be published in journals with mostly non-relevant to Bulgaria topics which however fulfil the international criteria set by Scopus and Web of Science will cause negative impacts to the Bulgarian science, as described below:

  1. A decline in the regional and national research activities, and redirection to questions of world history, major language groups, literatures and cultures. This predicted trend would restrict the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences to fulfil one of its primary missions dedicated to serving the interests of Bulgarian society and researching the cultural and historical heritage of the nation.
  2. The primacy of publishing in English in international journals would make the research of the Institute unavailable to the wider regional public. The lack of publications in Bulgarian would lead to more reliance on pseudo-scientific articles published in the Internet which, in turn, would form public opinion and imagination of the people who are not part of the science community.
  3. The final result of this discriminatory policy towards Bulgarian publishing – anthologies, journals, monographs – would turn the Bulgarian Humanities, specifically the Humanities at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, an institution which still leads the way in science, spirit and expertise in Bulgaria, into an ‘Ivory Tower’ with ‘windows’ facing solely the West without paying interest to the specific problems of the regional history and contemporary present, of the Bulgarian spirit and its achievements of the past and today. It is doubtful that the Bulgarian society and state would need such Humanities.


For the above-mentioned reasons we insist for holistic reassessment of policy towards Humanities that would take in mind the specificities of this field and in particular the criteria for quantitative assessment of human scientific publications, that will be consistent with the mission of corresponding disciplines, namely:

  1. Publications in journals which are referred in ERIH+ to be equally valuable as publications in Scopus and Web of Sciences.
  2. To be created a Bulgarian National Database of Academic Journals accompanied by a corresponding tracking system for citation that is equivalent to foreign ones in the field of human sciences.
  3. To be introduced a List of all Bulgarian academic publishers and all their editions to be evaluated with the highest grade of achievement.

Sofia
23.04.2019

*This is not a full translation but a synthesis of the document. There are missing explanatory parts from the text as well as the Introduction of the letter.

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