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Russian Scientists Test New Merit Bonus System

Russian scientists are testing a proposed system to bring a more merit-based approach to the doling out of funds supplementing basic salaries. The effort by the Russian Ministry of Science is meant to address criticism of the current system, "a crazy combination of uniformly low pay with distribution of extras by the will of the management," says Mikhail Gelfand, a scientist at the Institute for Information Transmission Problems in Moscow. Paychecks for Russian post-docs are about 5,000-

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Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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Russian scientists are testing a proposed system to bring a more merit-based approach to the doling out of funds supplementing basic salaries. The effort by the Russian Ministry of Science is meant to address criticism of the current system, "a crazy combination of uniformly low pay with distribution of extras by the will of the management," says Mikhail Gelfand, a scientist at the Institute for Information Transmission Problems in Moscow. Paychecks for Russian post-docs are about 5,000-6,000 rubles per month (approximately $200 US), and principal investigators earn roughly double. Institutes could see their salary funds increase by 60% overall, says Gelfand. How much each scientist would gain is unclear.

The system would use a formula that assigns a total score based on the past two years of articles in journals (weighted by impact factors), attendance at conferences (being invited gets you a higher score), and publications of monographs and textbooks....

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