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Bulgarian Researchers, Helsinki Committee Lash out at Academy Reform

Date: 28.06.2010

Researchers from a number of institutes of the Bulgaran Academy of Sciences (BAS) spoke out against reforms under way in the Academy at a press conference Sunday.

They protested at the way reforms are conducted and criticized the concentration of power in BAS's central executive board, calling for more autonomy of institutes.

The academics said that pressure for reform exerted by the current Bulgarian government on the BAS is being used by the central board to entrench its power and manipulate institutes.

Nikolay Aretov from the Institute of Literature called for more transparency in the Academy, including in fiscal matters. The researchers joined in demanding a new Statute for the organization.

Angel Stefanov from the Institute of Philosophy spoke out against proposed mergers of institutes intended to optimize the academy's structure and to cut down spending. According to him, mergers are done by force, without consulting scientists themselves and to the detriment of research.

At the same time, Krassimir Kanev, chair of the Bulgarian Helsinki committee characterized the methods of the reform as corrupt, because it is arbitrary, and without taking into account the recent international evaluation of the Academy and its institutes. According to Kanev the reform can lead to breach of rights of those working at BAS.

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