Turkish university rectors missing from int’l scientific publications - report

The majority of Turkish university rectors are not cited in scientific articles, nor have they penned a single international publication, Karar newspaper reported on Monday citing a report by a Turkish academic.

A total of 71 rectors of Turkey’s 206 universities do not have a single citation in leading international databases of scientific articles and 68 rectors have not signed their names to a single international publication, the report by Akdeniz University Professor Engin Karadağ said.

Karadağ’s study, which scanned two leading international scientific article databases - Scopus and the Web of Science – found that only 12 Turkish university rectors had between been cited 1-5 times on either database.

Four of the rectors whose works were most cited were from universities owned by private foundations and not state-run universities, according to the study.

“At this time, 68 of our university rectors have zero publications. All of their publications throughout their academic lives were in Turkey, meaning they don’t have anything the world could read,” Karadağ said.

“In 2011, Turkey had two universities in the top 200 and four universities made the list in 2015. Who is running these universities?” he added. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2018 issued a decree stripping much of the supervisory powers of the country’s education watchdog (YÖK) and gave himself sole authority to appoint university rectors. 

The study arrives on heels of an international student assessment in which Turkey scored below the average of OECD countries.

Students in Turkey placed 31st out of 37 on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 report.