This website (Independent Academic Forum) is organized by a group of Polish researchers from Poland and abroad to promote changes in the organization of Polish science and higher education leading to the American model. Unfortunately, the current system of science and higher education has been inherited from the communist era. It does not promote competetivness nor individual initiatives. Despite the fact that still many individual scientists and research groups in Poland are able to achieve scientific results recognized in the world the overall situation in Polish science and education is miserable.
Proposal for reforms of the organisation of research in Poland
The Independent Academic Forum (www.nfa.pl), as association of Polish researchers working both in Poland and abroad, is proposing radical reforms of the organisation of research in Poland, particularly with regard to the model of academic career and research financing in accordance with the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. First, we propose to simplify the requirements for academic promotion and tenure, making them more overt and compatible with standards developed in Anglo-Saxon countries.
This will be achieved by:
(a) Abolition of the additional postdoctoral degree (habilitated doctor, required to attain professorship) and the state-granted ('Belvedere') professorial title;
(b) Introduction of overt and competitive procedures for the recruitment of Faculty members. Openings should be advertised to the general public in dedicated internet service;
(c) Advertisement of recruitment for senior Faculty positions in international professional journals as well as including foreign experts in recruitment committees;
(d) Obligation of a full disclosure of academic achievements of Faculty members to the general public;
(e) Allocation of most research funds by open competitions for research proposals (grants) with obligatory reviews of the proposals by foreign experts.
These reforms aim to limit the influence of various ill-qualified committees, such as those awarding the habilitation degree and professorial title, on professional careers of researchers. At present, such decisions often depend on subjective judgements and individual opinions of people who frequently do not have any expertise in the research area of the cadidate. The members of those committees often not only lack adequate knowledge of a particular field but also frequently represent an entirely different discipline. For the employment of Faculty members, the following criteria should be considered essential: weighed publication record (taking into account the impact factor) as well as real educational achievements (training young researchers) and service. The use of those criteria will promote transparency and competitiveness of the recruitment process, which will improve the quality of Faculty and their research at Polish universities.
We also propose to introduce fully overt and competitive funding procedures. We consider that distribution of funds for research from public sources should be based on an open competition of grant proposals. The only criteria for obtaining funds to finance a project should be the research proposal itself and the experience and previous research achievements of the candidate proposing the project. We demand the putting in place of a legal requirement to publish research results as well as the expenditure of allotted public funds in a generally available database Access to funding from public sources should be awarded through a competition of proposals in which every researcher or research institution could take part. Emergence of research teams that can effectively manage allotted funds will come as a natural consequence of such an approach. Such teams will also be able to compete effectively with research centres from abroad.
Introduction of the proposed reforms will produce multiple benefits, including greater structural compatibility of Polish research institutions with counterparts in other countries, organized according to the Anglo-Saxon model. This will abolish artificial barriers, such as the “habilitation” degree and state professorial title, which make it difficult for Polish researchers working abroad to return to their home country. Numerous researchers who acquired valuable experience while working in foreign academic institutions will be able to transfer and exploit it in the Polish environment, with benefits to science and the society.
Adopting the proposed reforms should reduce the number of instances of serious misconduct in the employment of researchers and funding of research in Poland Signed by Polish researchers and students http://www.nfa.pl/news.php?id=2486
University of Oxford Polish Society
Durham University Polish Society
Polish Professionals in London
Warwick University Polish Society
London School of Economics Polish Society
Stowarzyszenie Centrum Edukacji CEL
Polish Society Biopolis Dresden
The University of Bristol Polish Society
Polish Society of Yale University
Australian- Polish Historical Society Inc. - Melbourne
see also: INDEPENDENT ACADEMIC FORUM adopts The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers http://www.nfa.pl/articles.php?id=261
European Commission > The European Researcher's Mobility Portal The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers Undersigning organisations Undersigning organisations Letter to Nature http://www.nfa.pl/articles.php?id=130
Eastern Europe: progress stifled by the old guard http://www.naukowcy.republika.pl/progress.html
Petrifaction of the post-communist system of science in Poland http://www.naukowcy.republika.pl/do_nature.html
Science Across the World http://www.nfa.pl/links.php?id=011
Scientific Organizations http://www.nfa.pl/links.php?id=002
Ethics in Science http://www.nfa.pl/links.php?page=0&id=019
Academic mobbing http://www.nfa.pl/links.php?id=049
Cezary Wójcik email@example.com
Józef Wieczorek firstname.lastname@example.org