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Czarnek is preserved in foreign scientific journals

Copyright: Image. Maciek Jazwiecki / Agencja Wyborcza.plPhoto. Maciej Jazwiecki…

January 30, 2023

Will Polish scientists publish again in journals that they will not be able to legally read? The Ministry did not allocate sufficient funds to maintain subscriptions to international journals. Politicians of Law and Justice (PiS) have long announced the “assessment” of Polish magazines

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Jan 19th 2023 on page “Science Virtual Library“- The program” for the purchase and sharing of sources of world knowledge in the form of electronic journals, books and databases of Polish academic and scientific institutions “- it was announced that it would be limited.

Until now, as part of the “library” managed by ICM (Interdisciplinary Center for Mathematical and Computational Modeling, University of Warsaw), scientists from Polish universities could use access to several databases containing articles published in scientific journals of various disciplines.

In 2023, some subscriptions will not be extended.

“MEiN (…) has announced that the cost of maintaining all licenses required by ICM is beyond the capacity of the MEiN budget and it may be necessary to reduce the list of licenses covered by co-financing.

(…) In addition, the ICM will have to terminate the existing contracts for licenses for science, nature and CUP, which were concluded for the period 2022-2024, but took into account the possibility of not awarding funding for 2023.

– We read in Message on the ICM website. Lists databases whose subscriptions will not be renewed.

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Scientific journals are an essential component of the circulation of information in the world of science. A large part of the scientific discussion takes place in them and information about new discoveries is published there.

Polish scientists have always had a hard time getting to them. Since the reforms, the Minister of Science from the PO-PSL government, prof. Barbara Kudrika As part of the “internationalization” of Polish science, the judges focused more and more on publications in international journals and publishing houses. However, this required the purchase of licenses – which was very expensive (not only for Polish universities, scholars in the entire Western world complain about their costs).

After 2010, scholars were forced to publish in journals to which they often did not have legal access. They dealt in different ways. There are free, illegal databases of scholarly texts on the Internet. The undersigned, for example, have for many years used the right of access given by a colleague, who had that fellow as a member of the alumni association of a German university. Others wrote to the authors of the studies they were interested in, asking them to send them their own articles.

The “internationalization” of science was one of the main slogans of the changes brought about by Science Minister Jaroslav Gwin (expelled from the government in August 2021). Under his rule, the “assessment” of scientific achievements, on the basis of which scientists are reckoned, was changed, rewarding very leading foreign journals. The government also supported access.

In 2021 from the state budget issued According to the Deputy Minister of Science, Prof. Dr. Włodzimierz Bernacki – PLN 290 million.

In 2020, the Ministry spent PLN 256 million on WBN, and in 2021 – already PLN 290 million. The scientific journal market is dominated by large multinational corporations – Elsevier, Sage, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, Taylor and Francis. Scientists often accuse them of monopolistic practices: for years they have raised prices above inflation rates without paying reviewers – much of the work other scientists do for free – and they charge very high fees for what is called open access, i.e. publishing articles in open access (i.e. you don’t need to Subscription to the journal to pay for it, but the author, or rather his parent organization, pays for the publication).

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a. Bernacki stressed that the ministry wants to leave “primary access” to the journals to Polish researchers.

In 2021, Minister Przymyslaw Czarnik also complained about the system in which Poland pays first for the publication of articles, and then – for the opportunity to read them, saying that this is “the total budget of a great university”.

The fact that Polish scientists will publish in foreign journals is quite obvious. The fact that the internationalization of our science must happen is quite evident. However, it cannot be an end in itself and cannot lead to diseases like PLN 100 million, nor can it lead to a situation where we then have to pay another PLN 255 million to read these articles. Together we pay PLN 350 million a year, and this is already an impressive university budget.

Perhaps the Ministry’s response would be to “increase the value” of Polish magazines, for which you don’t have to pay so much – as Minister Czarnik declared in later interviews.

However, these accounts should not be of interest to researchers, who will now have worse access to journals.

“Brilliant. We are supposed to do science, chase the world, win laurels, but our access to literature is cut off. How can you do science without access to the world’s publishing circuit?!?”

Commented on Twitter political analyst d. Łukasz Zamęcki of the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw.

“At least ten years ago I took a special position as an associate lecturer at an American university in order to have access to a decent virtual library. A lot has changed in Poland since then. But Czarnik came along and decided to cut off our access to journals…”

– wrote the prof. Michał Bilewicz, a social psychologist from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Warsaw.

Adam Lesczynski is a journalist, historian, sociologist and professor at SWPS University in Warsaw.


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