Historiography may be used solely by amateurs from social movements

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Historiography may be used solely by amateurs from social movements

Humanities have certain features that need to be taken into consideration during evaluation of effectiveness of scientists and scientific institutions, director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology named after Miklouho-Maclay Valery Tishkov said speaking at the Russian State University for the Humanities.

He wrote about this in a letter to head of the Federal Agency of Scientific Organizations and the president, and received a positive response. "It's about necessity or significance of not only results, but also essense of many humanitarian disciplines. Monographs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, publication of sources - all of this should be recognized as completely legitimate, indexable result of scientific work of humanities scholar. This will help humanitarian scientific knowledge to reach not only narrow professional community, but also wider audience. Many people want to know history, literature. There are amateurs who reach professional level, there are many social movements. There's a danger that professional historiography may be used by amateurs from various social movements. Archival and textual researches, field work, excavations, ethnographic and folklore expeditions, surveys require resources and equipment," Valery Tishkov believes.

He noted that the list of most important areas of scientific researches in the Russian Federation doesn't include a single topic of humanitarian nature, other than topics associated with study of various forms of extremism and terrorism. "However, there are still a lot of problems associated with such phenomenon as ethics. For 20 years we haven't paid attention to how dissertations and other researches can simply be bought in our environment. Humanities have suffered from this more than anything else. Now there are websites where you can publish scientific publications for money, and you will even be praised for it the university administration, praised for your high rating and the fact that you showed affiliation with a particular university. It's a very serious problem. Ethical climate, scientific standards, we must seriously discuss them and take certain measures," Tishkov noted.

Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, director of the Institute for Applied Mathematics named after Mstislav Keldysh, Boris Chetverushkin, said that unification of humanitarian and technical knowledge is extremely useful: "Right now one of the most discussed topics is a presidential decree of last May on the development of a program for evaluation of consequences of decision-making, risk assessment, threats and unforeseen circumstances. What is it? If from mathematical point of view, it's the Big Data theory, the supercomputer technology. Right now we're working on this in our institute and we understand that we can't proceed without specialists in the field of political science, history, cultural studies. We need their help in risks assessment. It's a truly breakthrough direction. There's nothing more important than evaluation consequences of a decision that's completely unobvious. For example, when you assess the need to increase retirement age, some say it's good for the economy, others say that young people won't have any jobs. All of this must be taken into account, and there's no way to do it without specialists in the humanities."