In the News & Analysis story “French mathematician tapped to head key funding agency” (M. Enserink, 1 November 2013, p. 545), European science policy followers say that one of the major challenges of the new European Research Council (ERC) president is “to resist pressure from countries in southern and eastern Europe that want a bigger slice of ERC’s pie.” Enserink explains that “[r]esearchers from those countries have often fared poorly with the ERC, which awards funding solely based on excellence.”
In our opinion, this statement not only portrays the eastern and southern European countries as those that want to drain the money from the hard-working North and West but also sums up all of the stereotypes that some western scientists have about all nonwestern science.
Our researchers are awarded (sometimes leading) positions in good, and even excellent, research and academic institutions in many western European countries and further overseas, in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Our manuscripts are published in high-ranking international journals. Despite this, even professional language editing does not spare us impertinent remarks about our English. Sometimes manuscripts are rejected without any objective critique. Prejudiced statements like those cited in your article do not contribute in the least to improving our situation.
Years ago a Belgian colleague said that he is always very proud of his eastern peers as he knows how difficult it is for us to succeed in science: “You have to prove yourself twice as much, you have to speak more languages, you have to be prepared to go through more rejections and more evaluations than almost any of your western colleagues.”
Unfortunately, several years on, he could still say exactly the same.
Pismo v Science pod naslovom “A Defense of Eastern European Science”, ki sta ga poslala Ana Rotter in Cene Gostinčar z NIB: