Requirement on ISI articles frightens Vietnamese scientists

VietNamNet Bridge – The National Fund for Science and Technology Development will only consider giving sponsor to the scientific research themes with internationally published scientific articles (ISI articles). Scientists believe that this is unreasonable requirement.

Some years ago, the national fund announced that in 2009-2012, it would prioritize to fund the scientific research themes with ISI articles. Meanwhile, in the 2012-2015 period, ISI articles are the compulsory requirement for researchers to be eligible for applying for support.

The fund’s board of management has affirmed that the new regulation should be seen as a necessary step for the fund to integrate more deeply into the world. However, scientists have pointed out that the requirement of two ISI articles for 2-year research work is “unreasonable” and “unfair.”

Dr Le Huu Song from the 108 Central Military Hospital said that in the molecular biology or biomedical fields, it is very difficult for everyone to have one article a year, and it is even more difficult to have an ISI article.

Song said that it takes scientists at least half a year to conduct experiments and one year or longer to write report. Therefore, Song believes that it would be better to amend the regulation.

Agreeing with Song, Dr Pham Hung Viet from the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences said it is feasible for the scientists at research institutes to have one scientific article a year, but it would be without the reach of the scientists at universities, who have lecture hours every day.

According to Viet, one internationally published article should be considered a great success, while it is an overly high requirement that one needs to have two ISI articles during two years to receive the sponsor from the fund.

Dr Ngo Viet Trung from the Vietnam Mathematics Institute has affirmed that it is very difficult to publish mathematics articles. One should be considered a mathematician if he has one scientific article for every two years. He also said that most of the Vietnamese mathematicians now can make public one article internationally every two years.

“The new regulation would keep authentic scientists away from the playing field of the fund,” Trung said.

According to Do Tien Dung, Managing Director of the National Fund for Science and Technology Development (Nafosted), before the fund was established, 1000 scientific research themes in natural sciences were made published within three years. However, only less than 200 articles were internationally published.

Dr Trung from the mathematics institute said that it is really wonderful to have ISI articles, but ISI articles should not be considered as the only factor for the fund to refer to when considering sponsoring scientific research works, because ISI articles have different quality levels.

Also according to Trung, in the field of mathematics, it is very easy to publish articles on some less prestigious journals, if someone pays money and waits for a couple of weeks. Therefore, it would be unfair if the fund only consider the number of articles to be published to decide whether to give sponsor.

Trung has suggested that the scientific articles published on domestic journals also should be considered, if they have excellent quality.

“It would be better if the fund supports the development of sciences and the scientist force, not simply pays money for internationally published articles,” Trung said.

Thu Uyen