Chilean universities are responsible for more than 80% of the science produced in the country, which in the last 20 years with some periods of great difficulties, has grown more than 600%.One of the underlying problems of the governments of developing countries to delineate suitable strategies to allocate efficiently the few funds available, has been the absence of clarity to distinguish the individuals and centers committed with competitive scientific research. As a consequence, the state funds, which in part are scarce because the region invest to little in science, do not always reach to the right people and to the right places, amplifying the already existing problems for the good scientists that resist to emigrate.To evaluate the corresponding situation in Chile, and to follow the results of substantial actions to support the scientific activity in the country, we have examined the performance of state financed universities.
It is well known that the quality of a doctorate program is related to the level of involvement of its faculty in research.
Thus, we worked with the hypothesis that postulates that if the in-house scientific output of the core faculty involved in
a Ph.D. program can be appraised in such a manner that the achievements render quantitative and qualitative indicators, it
is possible to depict profiles amenable for comparisons. We describe the methodology, that uses performance scientometric
indicators, and results obtained after studying five Ph.D. programs in the field of Cell and Molecular Biology/Biochemistry
in three different Chilean universities and show that the approach serves to portray the in-house capacity of each programvis a vis national and international standards.
Scientific output in the Caribbean and Latin American countries was studied examining the publications indexed by the Institute for Scientific Information which conform the mainstream literature. The growth patterns of first-authors-publishing-scientific-papers coming from the five most productive countries of the region were determined. In addition, the scientific publications from each country of the region, as indexed in 1981, were classified per field. It was found that most of the research was done in the life sciences area. However, the small scientific output observed in all fields appears insufficient to assure a positive role of science for the best overall development of each individual society. This situation may reflect a lack of support for the progress of science in these countries and therefore political commitment towards this purpose is considered to be of particular importance.
Authors:M. Krauskopf, María Inés Vera and R. Albertini
The scientific capabilities and performance profiles of the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile were assessed building performance indicators from the ISI's Chile-National Citation Report, 1981–1992. Consistent with the educational goals of the Faculty, the scientific activity which nurtures graduate training, especially at the doctoral level, was examined field by field and compared to Chilean and World scores. The approach rendered a portrait of the Faculty which depicts, trends, strengths and weaknesses, and standards for the evaluation of future activity. The study shows a very competitive performance in most of the fields, relative to national and world average achievements. A remarkable finding was the outstanding performance in applied fields, such as medical and agricultural sciences, and also in biotechnology, with shows that when good basic science takes place, high level goal oriented research also occurs.
Authors:F. Saavedra, Mary Mackenzie, R. Pessot and M. Krauskopf
The size and ageing of the Chilean scientific community was studied using as data the individuals actively engaged in research projects funded by the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDECYT). Between 1982 and 1991, 4966 individuals participated at least once, either as responsible for the research or as qualified associate in one term of the funding period. From this population, 2765 persons can be considered further committed with scientific research. As for sex, about 30% of the researchers are women. Taking into account all the disciplines, and in addition to the fact that the size of the Chilean scientific community seems to be subcritical, the study reveals that the workforce has been ageing dangerously through the years. The number of young scientists becoming part of the scientific workforce is decreasing. Research in mathematics, physics and chemistry, although qualitatively competitive, relies only on an extremely small group of excellent scientists, situation which is seriously affecting the scientific capacity that the country needs. Biology, although with a higher number of individuals, exhibits a pattern of ageing which will also affects the possibilities to strengthen the scientific demands. The global context in which science develops, leads to a brain drain that Third World countries will have to overcome, implementing public policies to offer the support that young people require to nurture the scientific strength. Indigenous Ph. D. programs demand urgent attention of policy decision makers as well as from research universities which need to offer opportunities to substitute, when existing, their incompetent faculty.