TRAMES, 2003, 7(57/52), 1, 40–52


The Quality of Science in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania after the First Decade of Independence


Jüri Allik


University of Tartu


Abstract. The main goal of this essay is to provide an analysis of bibliometric indicators of the quality of science in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania during the last ten years. In 2001, Estonia with 404 scientific publications per million of population was clearly ahead of Latvia (166), and Lithuania (136). Since 1992, Estonian and Lithuanian scientists more than doubled the number of articles they published in journals indexed by the ISI Web of Knowledge. The number of articles from Latvia has increased only 10%, which is even less than the general increase of published articles in the world. Comparing expenditures on research and development, R&D, with the number of scientific publications of each country, the cost of one published article was lowest in Estonia and only a little higher in Latvia and Lithuania. The unrealistically low cost of scientific articles suggests that a considerable amount of “hidden money” is involved, not reflected in the official expenditures. According to the ISI Essential Science Indicators database, Estonian scientists produced the largest number of high-impact papers (4,429) and also received the largest number of articles citing them (22,274); the Latvian contribution was the most modest, 2,610 articles and 9,192 citations. Estonia was able to produce high-impact research in 20 research areas, Lithuania in 13, and Latvia in 11 areas. It is concluded that the inadequate amount of money and the ignorance of the political elite concerning the role of science in a modern society are the most pressing problems for the further development of science in all three Baltic states, and particularly in Latvia.


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