Public Access to the Dissertations in Russia

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Public Access to the Dissertations in Russia
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In the modern Russia as a part of the global world, scientific communications are developing quite actively. Their growth is caused, among other things, by the task of wide audience familiarizing with the scientific thought achievements. New popular science media are being created, as well as aggregators of scientific news, scientific festivals are held, science promoted through the social networks. However, in the general scientific context, status of dissertations (thesis) themselves remains not completely clear. Accordingly, the public discussion on these issues seems problematic. This state of affairs is due primarily to the publishing status of the dissertations, as well as the author’s abstracts to them. They are published “on the rights of the manuscript”, in other words, they are not formally copyright subject. In addition, in order to have a scientific career, the Russian scientist has to defend not one, but two dissertations. The first thesis – “candidate”, corresponding to the accepted Ph.D., and the second thesis defended for a doctoral degree and correspond to the title existing in a number of countries – “habilitated doctor”. Thus, scientists in Russia write, as a rule, two dissertations and two abstracts. At present, a special process for acquainting the scientific community with the research results has been adopted. For this, several months before the defense, the author’s thesis and author’s abstract are published: 1) on the website of the organization where the work is prepared, 2) on the website of the “Higher Attestation Commission” of the Russian Federation. Reviews for the thesis are also published on the website of the organization where the thesis is being defended. The defense itself has a public character in the way of broadcast live. After defense, the volume of the dissertation is sent to the Russian State Library, the main scientific library in the country. There it is stored both in paper and electronic form. The author’s abstracts of dissertations are also sent to the main scientific libraries of Russia. This information is open and accessible to all interested. But the mass audience is mainly acquainted with scientific theses in a specific way: mostly on the path of scandals, covered in the media. The main source of exposing falsified dissertations is the network resource “Dissernet”. It was thanks to its efforts that a scandal with the thesis of the Minister of Culture V. Medinsky received considerable coverage. Thus, both the mass and specialized audience for the first time received such wide access to the theses. The next urgent task is to integrate the achieved result into the international scientific community. Note: The study is supported by the Russian Humanitarian Foundation (grant 16-03-50128). The author specializes in theoretical understanding and practical implementation issues relating to the interaction between science and society.