The Present Science Policy Does Not Justify Itself
Several research workers and other people have maintained that in previous years the achievements of our scientists who received a scientific degree were widely known; successful research workers were also praised as a national treasure. In the past decade, scientific research became like pottering about in private. Society does not know what researchers are doing, let alone that scientists would have their say in the preparation of decisions which are of importance to the state, although science is financed mainly by the state budget in Estonia.
What can be the reason for this? The aims of research have become more vague, because there is no clear responsibility in the management and co-ordination of science. The system of financing research work has led to a marathon race for getting funds, excluding the entrance of young people into science and the realisation of new ideas. In spite of the fact that researchers submit numerous reports every year to the Research & Development Council (RDC), the Scientific Competence Council (SCC), the Estonian Science Fund (ESF), the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Ministries and evaluators, the analyses and summaries of these reports have not been made generally available, and there is no single source from which we could get information about what research has been performed with the use of funds provided by tax-payers, or, just how many scientists there are in Estonia, what is their average salary, what topics are they dealing with, etc. It seems that the RDC and the SCC have failed to perform their main duty, because scientists do not know very much about the background of their activities, and there have been cases of arbitrary decisions not supported by any analysis. One problem is also that the present financing system does not stimulate researchers to get results and make their creative contribution to the Estonian economy, education and culture. True, in other countries researchers are often dissatisfied with financing, too, but the less money there is, the more reasonably it should be used.