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Проблемы популяризации науки в Украине: мысли ученых

Problems of science popularization in Ukraine: opinions of scientists

Date posted: 10.10.2017 Print Full version

 • According to the research carried out by the Sociological Group «Rating» in September 2017 on request of the Public Association «Ukrainian Partnership Forum» among the employees of the scientific institutions in Dnipro, Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, and Kharkiv, 86% of the polled believe that scientists should be engaged in science popularization (perform open lectures, publish articles in the non-scientific journals, provide comments for the media, participate in television programs, etc.). Only 5% expressed the opposite opinion and 9% could not answer this question.

In its turn, 45% stated that they had been personally engaged in science popularization (21% – constantly, 24% – from time to time). More than a half of the respondents said that they had not performed such activities. The greater the scientific experience and the higher scientific degree of the respondent, the more often the polled are engaged in the popularization of science.
85% of those who have experienced the science popularization confirmed they had done it on a voluntary basis, and only 6% said that they had received rewards for such activities. At the same time, 41% of all the interviewed scientists believe that such work should be paid, 37% think that it should be done on a voluntary basis, 22% – not determined.
A half of the polled state that the scientific institution they perform their activities in encourages them to participate in various forms of science popularization, 35% declare the opposite, 14% could not answer.
55% of the respondents state that it is difficult for the scientists to communicate information about their inventions through the media, 26% have the opposite opinion, and 19% could not answer. Interestingly, the longer the experience of scientific work, the more often the respondents speak about the problem of communicating information through the media. Among the main problems in reporting information about scientific inventions to the general public, the respondents noted the following: the media mostly prefer entertaining rather than scientific information (59%) and the state does not allocate funds to scientists to promote their inventions (56%). 42% state that the problem in communicating scientific information to society is that in Ukraine there is no tradition of popularizing science, 35-36% note that the money is needed to access the media or the scientific information is difficult for the vast majority of people. 22% say that information about scientific inventions is not interesting to the public. Only 4% say that there are no any problems with communicating information.
In terms of the effectiveness of science popularization in Ukraine, the best rated by the polled were higher educational institutions: 57% stated that they had been working effectively in this sphere, while 35% said their actions had been ineffective. 48% stated the efficiency of research institutes in this sphere, 42% –inefficiency; the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine - 43% and 48% respectively; the media – 32% and 54%. The work of the Ministry of Education and Science is considered to be effective only by 28%; at the same time, ineffective – by 63% (the worst rate among all the institutions researched). The activities of public associations in the field of science popularization are considered to be effective by 26%, ineffective – by 50%; business structures – 23% and 54% respectively; secondary schools – 23% and 62%.
Almost 90% of the respondents support the idea of establishing in Ukraine a center specialized in popularization and support of domestic scientific research, providing technical assistance to scientists and start-ups, contributing to the formation of a positive image of scientists and businessmen related to the scientific sphere, disseminating news on science and innovations; 7% oppose such an idea, 4% could not answer.
Among the services they would like to receive, scientists are most interested in lectures of well-known scientists, start-uppers, science promoters (60%). Foreign language courses are interesting for 46% of the respondents; round tables, master classes, workshops – for 42%; interactive innovations exhibitions – 30%; assistance in preparing a professional project presentation – 23%; media museums of science and video production – 22% each; receiving specialists’ advice on writing press releases, articles, and information materials – 21%; trainings on scientific journalism – 14%; the opportunity to work in the co-working zone and press briefings (press conferences) – 13% each; hackathons – 7%.
56% of the polled would like to have as an additional opportunity for their scientific activities access to modern presentation equipment, 47% – to workplaces with computers with Internet access. 31% expressed the desire to have access to mini printing house, 21% – to 3D installations, 13% – to the video production professional studio, and 9% – to a dedicated spot for express photography.
57% of the respondents said they had been cooperating with their colleagues from abroad, 37% – have not had such an experience, 6% did not answer this question. The highest number of those who collaborate with foreign scientists was recorded in Kyiv and Odessa, the lowest – in Dnipro. There are also more of them among the Doctors of Sciences and those who have a great scientific experience.
Only 2% of the respondents stated that their research activities had been sufficiently funded, 55% stated that they had been partially financed. 35% said their activities had not been funded at all. More or less better cases with funding were recorded among Kyiv scientists, Doctors of Sciences, and those with over 20 years experience. On the other hand, the situation is somewhat worse among Dnipro residents, employees without a scientific degree, and those with little experience.
54% of the polled said they had been engaged in other work activities, except for the scientific research, 43% – had not been engaged. At the same time, 72% of those with extra work except of their main employment stated that it had been related to the main place of work. It should be noted that employees without a scientific degree more often than others stated that their additional activities had not been related to the main employment.
Only 28% of the respondents stated that they had been considering leaving the scientist work in favor of other activities. 55% stated that they had not been thinking about changing the type of work, 17% did not answer this question. The number of those thinking about changing work is higher in Lviv, among those without a scientific degree, and scientists with 5-10 years of experience.
The main reason for desire to leave the research activities among those who have expressed such an intention is unsatisfactory wages (87%). 57% say they want to change their work due to lack of funding for their research, 41% – because of disappointment in the development of Ukrainian science, 19% – because of the desire to be engaged in another field, 10% – because of the lack of relevance of the research being done.
60% of the respondents say that the most important thing that they have got from their scientific activities today is the pleasure of their favorite work. Only 14% indicate that they have received scientific recognition, 10% – the practical implementation of the results, 5% – the financial reward. The pleasure of favorite work as a result of work was more often mentioned by PhDs and those with over 10 years of scientific experience. Doctors of Sciences more often than others mentioned the scientific recognition.
In contrast, answering the question "What would you like to receive from your scientific activities in the nearest future?", 46% of the polled indicate that they would like to receive financial reward, other 24% mention the practical implementation of the results, 13% – the scientific recognition, and only 9% – the pleasure of favorite work. PhDs and Doctors of Sciences more often speak about the financial rewards, employees without a scientific degree – about the scientific recognition, Doctors of Sciences – about pleasure of favorite work.
56% of the respondents stated that they had not considered the possibility of moving abroad to perform scientific activities. 26% of the polled answered that they had been thinking about such an opportunity, 18% did not answer this question. The number of those thinking about "scientific emigration" is somewhat higher among the scientists of Lviv, employees without a scientific degree, and those who have a little work experience. Among the main expectations of emigration of those who consider such an opportunity, the most often mentioned is the financial reward for their work (43%). 28% stated the desire to implement the results of their work as a motivation for departure, scientific recognition – 14%, emotional satisfaction – 10%.
93% of the polled say that it is important for them that the results of their research work had practical implementation. Only 4% share the opposite opinion. In its turn, 47% said that their scientific work had been practically applied. In contrast, 38% said that their research had not been implemented in practice, and 15% did not answer this question. The highest number of those who stated that the results of their work had been practically implemented was recorded among the Doctors of Sciences (61%) and those with over 20 years of work experience. The lowest number, respectively, was recorded among those who do not have a scientific degree and have little work experience.
The main reason for not implementing the results of scientific works among those who noted that they had not been able to apply their development in real life is the lack of funding (48%). 27% stated that they had not implemented their work in practice because of their theoretical nature. 7-9% – due to the lack of interest of research institution management in such implementation or because of the lack of relevance of research in terms of current realities. 2-4% named such reasons as fear to make a mistake, lack of media support, personal disinterest, and lack of public support.
Two-thirds of the respondents stated that over the past five years they had not applied to receive scientific grants from the state authorities in Ukraine or international organizations. 33-36% – have applied for such competitions. More than 80% of the respondents have not applied for public initiatives’ grants, only 8% – have applied.
Every fifth stated that over the past five years, he/she had received grants from the state authorities or international organizations. At the same time, more than 80% have not received any of these grants. Regarding grants from public initiatives: only 3% have received them, 90% – have not, 8% – did not respond at all.
Among those who had applied for grants from the state authorities or international organizations over the past five years, more than a half has received them. Referring the NGOs grants, the effectiveness is slightly lower – 36%. The highest number of those who have won grants was recorded among the scientists from Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Lviv, Doctors of Sciences, and those with the greatest academic experience; the lowest number – among the scientists of Odessa and Dnipro, employees without a scientific degree, and those with a little work experience.
The most transparent are considered to be the procedures of obtaining grants from the international grant-giving organizations (52% – definitely or rather transparent, 24% – rather of definitely non-transparent). The state authorities grants are considered to be transparent only by 25%, non-transparent – by 57%; public initiatives’ grants – 23% and 32% respectively (45% in this case were not able to assess the transparency of such grants at all).
23% to 27% of the respondents stated that if they had to choose a grant program for funding their research, the most important factors of choice would had been the correspondence of the scientific topic, the possibility of finding an investor for the expansion of scientific activity, and the amount of project funding. 11% said that in this case it would have been important to be able to popularize their scientific developments, only 4% talked about the possibility of emigration abroad. For PhDs and Doctors of Sciences, the factor of correspondence of the scientific topic was somewhat more important than for others; for employees without a scientific degree – an opportunity to popularize their scientific developments.
47% state that it is somewhat or very difficult to win grants from the international organizations, 33% – that it could be done easily or rather easily, 21% – could not answer. Regarding grants from the state authorities, 61% say it is difficult to do; only 21% state it is easy. In the case of grants from the public initiatives, 44% could not comment anything on this, 38% say it is difficult. It is important that those who have applied for grants over the past five years, twice as often as those who have not applied for such competitions, state that they were easy to get.
Three-quarters of the respondents said they had received information about science and innovation through the specialized Internet resources and specialized journals. 52% receive such information from their colleagues, 44% – during lectures, exhibitions, forums, and other events, 31% – through social networks, 12% – television, 8% each – social and political newspapers and magazines and also from friends, only 4% – radio broadcasts. The specialized Internet resources and journals are more often used by the Doctors of Sciences; information from colleagues and social networks – by those who have not yet received a degree.
90% of the polled use the Internet every day, 6% – 3-4 times a week, 3% – 5-6 times a week. Among those who use the World Wide Web, 64% favor Facebook social network. Instagram and Vkontakte are used only by 9-10% each. Twitter is used by 6%, Odnoklassniki – 3%. 10% use other social networks. At the same time, almost every third does not use them at all: the highest number of such is recorded among the Doctors of Sciences.
Three-quarters of the respondents state that it is the most convenient for them to receive information in the text format, 50% – in images, diagrams, charts, graphs, etc., 30% – in the video format, only 3% – in the audio format.
76% say they would like to receive information on the development of innovations and new opportunities for scientists in Ukraine, 10% – would not, other 14% – did not answer this question.
Respondents: scientists of 35 scientific institutions in 5 cities (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa, Lviv). Total sample: 1000 respondents. Personal formalized interview (face-to-face). Period of the survey: 4-30 September 2017. The survey conducted on request of the Public Association «Ukrainian Partnership Forum»


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