chapter  13
13 Pages

Conclusion: Internationalisation of Central and Eastern European social sciences – is the catching up a myth or reality?


The development of a coherent and academically excellent social science research area in Europe is not only the problem of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) research communities, but the common task of East and West. The aim of this book is to broaden the knowledge base in science policy with a focus on the obstacles to and challenges for the internationalisation of Central and Eastern European social sciences. The authors of the book have tried to find answers to the main question – is the need of CEE social sciences to catch up a myth or reality? By looking at science policy frameworks on the national and international levels, introducing evidence of the success and failure of academic achievements as well as new science policy perspectives formulated on a country level, the authors debate the contextual factors of internationalisation and the new challenges that the European social science community is facing. Social sciences in comparison with other sciences in Europe have been

divided by the political orders of the West and East. In the former Soviet bloc in Central and Eastern Europe, the social sciences were highly ideologically controlled and full of politicising attempts made by the totalitarian system. International collaboration of researchers was extremely limited, although the practices differed from country to country – from the Socialist era we can recall outstanding social science scholars whose academic contributions outreached the boundaries of the restrictive political system. After the collapse of the totalitarian system in the early 1990s, con-

temporary social sciences in CEE countries started to reorient from a Soviet-style research and development (R&D) politics towards competition-based international collaborative research. The science governance came under pressure to undertake major structural reforms, the researchers to increase the academic excellence and visibility and to diffuse into the European social science community on a competitive basis. Almost 20 years of the ‘new era’ has not been enough for CEE science policies and academic visibility of social sciences to catch up to the levels of the Western social sciences, which could have taken a more smooth developmental track. Today, the situation is lower academic competitiveness of the CEE social sciences in general compared with Western social sciences, determined by internal as well as external

factors, and impacted by diverse R&D policies and strategies. Referring to Iiris Virtasalo, Jouni Järvinen, Gyula Horváth, Galin Gornev and other authors of this book, social sciences in CEE countries are largely hindered by historical factors, and structural as well as cultural features. However, the authors remind the reader that CEE social sciences and science organisations should not be seen as one monolithic entity, as every country has its own pattern.