Is it Possible to Estimate the Value of Invaluable? More on the Ranking of Scientific Collections by Value
Chechenkina T.V., Sotnikova M.V.
Introduction. Natural science collections play a prominent role in the study of nature and species evolution, conservation of biological resources of the planet, ensuring nation’s food security and solving fundamental and applied problems in the various sciences. The increasing role of collections determines the need for effective management of collection funds, safe and reliable storage of samples and information about them meeting the world-class standards, enhancing accessibility to original samples and digitized databases. Nonetheless the legal status of collections negatively affects the availability of public funding allocated to scientific infrastructure. Underfunding of natural science collections is the challenge of global relevance. But the situation of Russian scientific collections is compounded by the fact that the current legislation regulating research infrastructure considers only two types of objects (core facilities and large-scale research facilities). Since scientific collections do not belong to any of these categories, they are not eligible for government funded support of research infrastructure. To organize earmarked financing of natural science collections government spending agencies need criteria for their valuation. The aim of this paper is to analyze the applicability in the Russian Federation of the system for the valuation of natural science collections implemented in the Netherlands and to propose recommendations for its further development. Methods. The study is based on the results of monitoring of Russian core research facilities and large-scale research facilities and on the analysis of international experience of evaluation of natural science collections. Results and Discussion. In the discussed method for natural science collections evaluation, all collection items are divided into 4 groups according to significance level - from A to D. The advantages of the method include the possibility of obtaining a generalized collections ranking index based on their size and composition; among the obvious disadvantages there are complexity and subjectivity of the classification system. The article suggests the ways of development this approach by means of considering the demand for collection materials; the fact that the value of collections may increase over time, etc. Conclusion. Although the proposed method is time-consuming and needs further development, its application can significantly improve the management of collections in the Russian Federation, in particular, to optimize the procedure of state financing. This study is the first step towards the development of a methodology for assessing scientific collections in the Russian Federation.
Keywordsscientific collection, natural science collection, biological specimen collection, classification of specimens, science funding, funding of research infrastructure, funding of scientific collections
Information about the authors
Tatiana V. Chechenkina, Head, Sector of Monitoring of Research Infrastructure, Russian Research Institute of Economics, Politics and Law in Science and Technology (RIEPL) (20А Dobrolyubova St., Moscow 127254, Russia), ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7328-5578. Her research interests lie in the area of econometric modeling, science infrastructure, innovation infrastructure, innovation management, information retrieval and statistics.
Maya V. Sotnikova, Researcher, Russian Research Institute of Economics, Politics and Law in Science and Technology (RIEPL) (20А Dobrolyubova St., Moscow 127254, Russia), ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6640-5340. Her area of expertise includes legal regulation of science, regulation of government science and technology policy, research infrastructure.
- Chechenkina T. V. – research concept development, literature review, formulation of the conclusions;
- Sotnikova M. V. – analysis of legislation and the results of monitoring of Russia’s research infrastructure.