New Sources for the Scientific Co-operation: Case of Ukraine

by Dr. Lidiya Kavunenko and Oleksandr Lugovyy

Centre for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies (STEPS Centre), National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 60 T.Shevchenko Blvd. 252032 Kiev-32,Ukraine
Fax/phone (380 44) 216-95-91
Email: steps@carrier.kiev.ua


The purpose of the paper is to explore the nature and the impact of the economic changes on the international scientific co-operation in Ukraine. Collaboration of the Ukrainian researchers with the foreign colleagues is the key aspect in the process of restructuring of the Ukrainian science system. The aims of such partnership are improved transfer of knowledge and technology, increased relevance of education, improved competitiveness and economic development.

During the last 3 years STEPS Centre have been carrying out the research project devoted to the problems scientific and technological (S&T) development in Ukraine in transition period. In the course of the project various of S&T indicators are monitored by the way of statistical data analysis, the latter were taken from reports on institutes' activities, survey of scientists, which included the use of a single questionnaire with broad set of questions, and experts interviews, made in the institutes among the heads of scientific departments. The data from the Science Citation Index (SCI) database were used.

The following methods are to be used for monitoring and comparative analysis: collection, processing and analysis of statistical and scientometric data on the dynamics of the process under the study. Structural, institutional, cognitive readjustments generated by the process of the international integration within S&T system.

Ukraine is currently living through extremely grave conditions in S&T sphere. Crises going back to the 1980s have become much more severe in recent years. The problems related to science budgeting as well as to budgeting resources are the core of the science reform process since these factors influence both the direction and pace of reforms. Reduced funds led to migratory processes of the research staff. The total number of the scientists and engineers decreased by 50% between 1992 and 1999.

Despite the drastic decline of S&T potential during last 10 years, Ukraine still meets standards adopted by developed European countries in term of number and professional skills of researchers.
The economic and political situation is demanding the search of the new forms and methods of the S&T co-operation.

One of the distinctive features of the modern development of the Ukrainian science system is the enlargement of the S&T co-operation. The research institutions of Ukraine try to find partners for the joint scientific activity in different countries. The co-operation is covered by framework bilateral and multilateral agreements. Ukraine has agreements with research institutions of Austria, Bulgaria, China, Finland, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, USA and other.

New research organisations, joint with the foreign partners, were established in Ukraine. One of them is Science and Technology Centre of Ukraine (STCU) was established in 1993. The STCU is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to preventing proliferation of technologies and expertise related to weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and delivery systems. The Centre, agreement signed by Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the USA, is headquarters in Kiev with an international staff of scientific, financial and administrative experts. The Centre develops, approves, finances and monitors science and technology projects that engage the former Soviet weapons science community in Ukraine in peaceful activities. Work began in the early years after Ukrainian independence, when the Governments of Canada. Sweden, Ukraine and the USA recognised that Ukraine was in a critical period that included transition to a market economy. Development of processes of disarmament, and the conversion of industrial-technical potential from military to peaceful endeavours.
S&T co-operation allows to use advantages, provided by joint resources in order to maintain expensive research programs, widens the access of scientists to resources. Special promotion of the S&T co-operation among scientists has become the main composite part of science policy of several international organisatons.

Ukrainian scientists breakthrough into the international scientific community was accomplished by their own effects, by the way of publishing their results in the international and foreign journals, participation in the project competitions, conferences and symposia.
During the period 1994 to 1996 the total number of the Ukrainian researchers, who visited foreign countries, decreased from 2098 in 1994 to 1978 in 1996. But if to take into consideration the rates of reduction of scientific staff, than the total number of scientists, who visited foreign countries, was increased.

The purposes of the scientific trips were various: training in the scientific centers, participation in the international conferences, joint projects and other. The researchers, who are working in mathematical, physical, engineering and biological sciences have dominated in the scientific trips. The most visited countries are Russia, Germany, Poland, USA, France, Great Britain, Italy.

It should be note, that there is specialisation of the trips. For example, the number of business trips of the specialists in engineering sciences dominantes in Russia (more then 50% of the total number of the business trips), on the second place is the number of business trips of the specialists in mathematical sciences (26.6%).

In Great Britain, the number of business trips of the specialists in biology prevailed over similar trips to developed countries. On the second place is the number of business trips of the specialists in engineering and mathematical sciences. According our data about 80% of all business trips cover by foreign institutions. We used data about foreign visits as one of the indicators of S&T co-operation.

Communications of the Ukrainian scientists were connected with the scientometric indicators (correlation coefficient between total citation counts and number of visits was 0,48). According to SCI database, the number of publications of the Ukrainian scientists has decreased from year to year (5815 publications in 1992, 4441 publications in1998). The share of the Ukrainian publications in the total number of the publications in SCI database has reduced. In 1992, among 1000 publications of SCI database was 78 publications of the Ukrainian researchers, in 1998 - only 46.

Among the research organisations indubitable priority concerning the number of publication have the institutions of the National Academy of Sciences. We elaborated the two indicators, which defined the number of publications on 1000 engaged in science (KEN) and on 1000 researchers (KR). Analysis of the publication activity has testified that the number of the publications of the Ukrainian scientists has tendency to growth. (KEN was in 1992 - 15, in 1996 - 17, in 1998 - 21. KR was in 1992 - 190, in 1996 - 170, in 1998 - 180).

One of the main features of the S&T development in Ukraine is the internationalisation of the scientific co-operation. The number of the publications of the Ukrainian scientists with the foreign colleagues has increased more than 3 times in 1998 (in comparison with 1992). For example, the number of the joint publications Ukrainian and American researchers has increased in 5 times (in 1992 - 64 publications, in 1998 - 256), the number of joint publications with German specialists has increased more than 3 times (in 1992 - 86, in 1998 - 254).

Recent years were marked by shift from major intergovernmental S&T programmes run by research institutions within Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), to international contacts at the individual level. Ukrainian scientists'breakthrough into the international scientific domain was accomplished by their own efforts, e.g. by way of publishing their R&D results in international and foreign journals, participation in project competition, in conferences and symposia. Such "individualisation" of S&T co-operation can be seen as a new trend.

After the introduction of radical institutional and economic reforms, it became obvious that the reorganisation and restructuring of the S&T system should become an integral part of these reforms so that the acquired capabilities in R&D would be realised through innovative behavior, market outcomes and increased international competitiveness of Ukraine.

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