Progress report on scientific research in Turkey

source: World Data Atlas
Vertical axis is the natural log of the total number of science & engineering papers by Turkish researchers (slowdown after 2006 is clearly evident)

Turkish Academy of Sciences published a report prepared by Ufuk Akçiğit (University of Chicago) and Elif Özcan-Tok examining the academic environment in Turkey. The report is based on datasets Scopus and MAG (Microsoft Academic Graph).

The report is written in Turkish. I tried to find the English version but could not find it. It probably does not exist. I will do my best here to convey the main points of the report.

  • The number of science & engineering papers accelerated in 2000-2006, but has slowed down considerably since 2006 as can be seen in the graphs above.
  • After 2006, the establishment of new universities has accelerated with the “at least one university in each city” approach. However, the new universities are not as scientifically productive as the old ones.
  • After 2000, complex regulations were introduced for academic promotion. To be promoted to associate professor candidates have to have a minimum number of publications in SCI/SSCI/AHCI indexed publications . This regulation resulted in higher number of publications but mostly in low impact journals.
  • Scientific productivity decreases as academics are promoted to professor. This is seen in other countries as well.
  • Scientific output of private universities in Turkey is better compared to public universities. This may be related to the fact that in recent decades private universities were able to transfer the best scientists from public universities.
  • Quality or impact of a scientific paper is usually measured by the number of citations the paper receives. By this measure multi-author papers receive more citations. Single author papers are getting rare. This is a trend seen in other countries as well.
  • Multi-author papers indicate that Turkish scientists and engineers mostly collaborate with Asian and Middle Eastern colleagues.
  • Citation gap: science & engineering papers originating from Turkey mostly cite papers produced by Western countries but receive only a small number of citations from the Western countries.

Academic research is progressing slowly. Number of publications and citations do not reflect the total R&D effort in a country, however. There is anecdotal evidence that the R&D effort in the military & industrial complex of Turkey is accelerating.

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