The number of theses in Ukraine has decreased by 15%, but the quality has remained unchanged

Количество диссертаций в Украине снизилось на 15%, а качество – на том же уровне

During the past year the number of theses has dropped by 15%. This was reported by Nana Voitenko, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Member of the Scientific Committee of the National Council for Science & Technology, at the round table discussion “The enemies within: who is unneeded in Ukrainian science?” held by Innovation House.

According to her, as of December 2016, there are 5,200 Candidate’s theses presented, and 884 Doctoral theses. By the end of 2017, the number of Candidate’s theses has decreased to 4,500, and Doctoral – to 811.

According to Oleksiy Kolezhuk, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Member of the Scientific Committee of the National Council for Science & Technology, the key problem resides not in the great number of theses. As a comparison, according to him, every year about 50,000 PhD theses are presented in the USA. But in Ukraine we have a problem in the theses content.

First of all, there is disbalance in fields of work. Nearly 50% of the theses, that are presented in Ukraine, relate to pedagogics, economics, medicine, and jurisprudence. Only 20% relate to natural sciences, that are associate by us with the technological progress.

Secondly, on frequent occasions theses have no scientific value and are made with the sole purpose of getting additional payment from the government. “For instance, we have such “wild” scientists, who have presented their theses, but are the state employees and use our benefits without really being the scientists,” – Kolezhuk said.

According to Irina Yehorchenko, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Mathematics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, plagiarism is one of the major problems with theses in Ukraine.

“Children in Ukraine are taught how to plagiarise even when they are in kindergarten. There are many cases, when nursery teacher makes “handicrafts” and instructs children to say to their parents that it was made by themselves. That’s that”. – Yehorchenko said. Or handmade experts receive orders from pupils to make their schoolwork in handicraft lessons. In other words, plagiarism is the problem at the level of society as a whole.

The position of the state regarding the plagiarism in scientific field is that it shall be defined by the legal review, rather than by scientists. According to Irina Yehorchenko, the cost of such review is often unaffordable. For instance, in case of scandal-ridden hesis of Kateryna Kyrylenko, wife of the politician Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, the cost of such review had to reach UAH 360,000. “In other words, best efforts are exerted not to conduct this review,” – Irina Yehorchenko said.

Petro Borovyk, Patent Attorney and Vice President at the Ukrainian Association of Patent Attorneys, believes that the issue of combating against plagiarism is not only the matter of law. “It is likely that the use of the rules of the law on copyright protection  may lower the plagiarism level. But the academic plagiarism is a phenomenon that cannot be stopped solely by means of intellectual property law,” – Mr. Borovyk said. According to him, in most cases plagiarism is observed in scientific papers – this is the act of dishonesty with regard to the state bodies and society as a whole, but not the infringement of third party copyrights. Thus, the scientific community shall build up certain tolerance against such a phenomenon.

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