December 9, 2022

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Czarnek improves the assessment of science so that no one important is lost

Czarnek improves the assessment of science so that no one important is lost

The assessment is of key importance to all Polish science and to tens of thousands of Polish women and university researchers. It simply means evaluating their scientific achievements – it is conducted according to complex formal rules.

Covered the years 2017-2021 (extended by a year due to the COVID pandemic). Research units (such as university departments) contain the following assessment categories – A +, A, B +, B or C.

“The merits of conducting studies, doctoral schools, awarding degrees and titles depend on it. As well as the amount of support, that is, the money that research units receive from the state budget. Therefore the rating regulation is very important in the completely reformed system of higher education and science “- you can read until the time Relative on the government website” Constitution of Science “(This is a propagandist name for changes in the regulation of Polish science introduced by Jaroslaw Guin who was in the government PIS Minister of Education and Science 2015-2020).

Today, however, the website “konstytucjadlanauki.gov.pl” no longer exists – just like Gwen’s “reform,” which Minister Czarnik has seriously and almost systematically dismantled since the beginning of his tenure in October 2020. (The date can be found This disassembly, which is reported by OKO.press step-by-step, is at the end of this article).

Let’s not change anything to “avoid a scandal”

In a press conference held by the Minister on May 9, 2022 pronounce sarnik The results of the preliminary evaluation, which he obtained from the Committee for the Evaluation of Science – a body established by Gowen’s Law, whose role was systematically sidelined by the new minister (for example by not being informed at all of the changes made in the reform).

Evaluating all Polish sciences was a huge task.

“We have received proposals from KEN for a set of criteria and classifications for specific disciplines, individual entities and entities publishing disciplines. A total of 283 entities were evaluated, 1145 entities – specialties, 700 thousand publications, thousand. patents, 18 thousand. projects 54 thousand technical achievements “

– said the minister.

If the assessment principles proposed by KEN are followed, many universities will lose their right to award degrees. 211 entities will retain 747 entitlements (they may have entitlements in more than one discipline), 56 entities will lose 98 doctoral award entitlements, and 102 entities will gain 168 new entitlements in total.

However, nothing like this will happen. Changes – the minister announced – will be limited.

Czarnek announced that he would use his powers to change the so-called reference values ​​- that is, evaluation criteria. He granted himself these powers in July 2021.

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The goal – he said – is to “avoid scandal”, i.e. a situation in which leading Polish universities lose their rights. According to the Minister, for example, the Warsaw School of Economics will lose the right to award doctoral and post-doctoral degrees in economics and management, the Warsaw University of Life Sciences will lose these rights in veterinary medicine, and the Jagiellonian University – in pharmaceutical sciences .

After the announced minute changes. Cherniki, the number of lost rights will be reduced by about 30 percent. Compared to the values ​​provided by KEN. The number of modules (institutes, faculties) with categories A and B + will increase in total to 83%.

The minister described it as “the salvage of the leading ships of Polish higher education”.

The final results of the evaluation will be announced in mid-June. Deputy Minister A. Włodzimierz Bernacki also announced that the new assessment would follow the new rules and criticized Gowin heavily.

“We will make sure that there are no similar ridiculous situations that we had to deal with before we, with Minister Czarnik, enter this part of the Ministry of Education and Science,” he said.

Was it the minister who violated the assessment?

The minister pointed out that universities from smaller centers coped well with the assessment. As suggested by scientists interviewed by OKO.press, this may be the result of changes in the dozens of scientific journals presented by Czarnek – many local journals and published by smaller centers (where it is easier to publish an article than to publish in prestigious foreign journals) added to them.

“The minister is far from the truth, because the overestimation of local or poor journals is the root cause of this situation. It is not the good units that are underestimated in the assessment, but the poor units – thanks to the actions of the minister – are unfairly underestimated and often leapfrog over their competitors in Discipline ”- wrote the professor. Emmanuel Kolchiki, KEN member.

“Assessment is a wonderful diagnostic tool and as such, it can contribute to the development of the science sector in Poland. However, at the moment we are beginning to map the world to a global scale to say that Poland is the Polish champion. This makes assessment useless.

The form of the rating can also be distorted by “predatory” magazines – for which you get points, but where prints are (practically) bought for money.

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“An additional factor, when it came out, was predatory magazines, for example from MDPI publishing. You can see that they took advantage. It’s hard to say if it was intentional or time-related. In my own way (here you’d be surprised!) I can say that Czarnik is right that such an assessment can be harmful ”- wrote Dr. Radoslav Kaminsky, a chemist from the University of Warsaw, in response to a question from the OKO. Press, who also introduced himself on Twitter as a “Member of Civic Platform”.

[Wydawnictwo MDPI to Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute – Multidyscyplinarny Instytut Wydawnictw Cyfrowych – wydawca czasopism naukowych o otwartym dostępie – red.]

A hacked patient system

The evaluation ended in failure – on this, the scientists agreed with a question from OKO.press (although they differ on many other issues).

The Polish Humanities Crisis Committee has warned that the system is sick and absurd since at least 2019. We have requested cancellation of evaluation to test the system. We warned you that everything will pile up eventually. We were right. Now there is nothing to save. “The whole concept of reforms and counter-reforms has been discredited in recent years,” wrote Alexander Timkin of the Crisis Committee in the Polish Humanities, a doctoral student at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The evaluation was aimed at enhancing the quality and removing individual diseases, and in their place gave rise to systemic diseases. Staff are pushed into teaching positions, unit managers buy publications in pseudo-scientific journals, and the practice of adding authors to publications thrives. It all depends on the evaluation, so everything is subject to evaluation and evaluation shuffle. must stop”

Kazarnik breaks Gwen

Minister Czarnek systematically dismantled the later elements of the so-called Gowin reform, even before it came into effect. About the need for comprehensive changes He actually spoke in November 2020, shortly after taking office.

Today, the Deputy Minister of Science is Prof. Włodzimierz Bernacki of PiS, has been a consistent critic of Gwin’s reforms since the time of its release. In an interview with PAP in December 2020, Czarnek announced, among other things, a change in the system of evaluation (scoring) of Polish books and humanitarian journals in the “patriotic” spirit (the evaluation of scientific units is based on points, and in perspective – the scholarship they receive and their rights).

This means reversing the major change introduced by Gowin and increasing the value of local Polish publications. This is the professor’s responsibility. Paweł Skrzydlewski, philosopher from Chełm, scientist with few achievements and extreme Catholic views (we wrote about it here).

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Since then, the minister managed to make significant changes to the list of scientific journals and publications, at his discretion.

In February 2021, OKO.press wrote that And the winners were mainly magazines published in church universities.

In July 2021, the Minister announced another change in the order of the journals. at He said in an interview with PR24: “There was a case where it was not profitable to publish in Polish journals, often very distinguished, with an attractive title, with a fascinating history, and a great deal of experience. (…) That is why we changed it. We received conclusions from the scientific community from all over Poland. , from smaller and larger centers, numbering several hundreds. We have interacted favorably with the vast majority of them, raising scores (…) Now we are waiting for conclusions from subsequent editorial offices and in September there will be another campaign, certainly larger, to raise the ratings of magazines Polish scientific – those who have experience, potential and history, as they require a status. ”

Also in July 2021, Minister make changes In the rules for awarding research units in categories (A + to C) on which budget funding depends. Now the Minister decides the criteria for classifying the units into the appropriate category.

In October 2021, Minister Przemyslav Ksarnik explained these changes in more detail – Announcing a “minor amendment” to Gowen’s law in the fall and a “major” amendment in the spring of 2022..

The “big” amendment is to radically change and simplify the rules for the upcoming assessment in 2026.

Deputy Minister Prof. Włodzimierz Bernacki in November 2021 In an interview with PAP (“Score” is what is called collecting points for scientific publications – and this was the gist of Gwen’s changes.) The list of journals, the key in Gwen’s Law and which has now changed several times, will therefore lose its relevance at all.

What will replace the points? unknown.

Adam Leszynski
Adam Leszynski

Historian and sociologist, professor at SWPS University, journalist. Author of two reports on Africa and several books on history. “Slander” Poland, incl. In “The Guardian”, “Le Monde”, “El Pais”, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. He recently published “Poland’s People’s History” (WAB 2017). At OKO.press he writes about politics and history.