Sebastian Buhai’s Miscellaneous Essays
Next to the selected essays below, I also post (lately not so…) regularly in blog article/ essay format on the followings weblogs:
- Personal blog (posts in English or Romanian). View also my former blog (NB: if some links for older posts do not work in my current blog, they should work in my former—where they were mechanically migrated from).
- Blog EconAcademia (posts in Romanian): a blog by Romanian academic economists, which I initiated in December 2014; direct link to my posts there.
Most essays collected here target a wider audience—i.e., not only academic, or at least not just Econ-academic—although often scientific research and/or other academe-originating concepts are to some extent involved. The documents linked below are mostly (though not always!) in Romanian, but usually have brief explanations in English around them. Related relevant material is available under various ‘news media’ format on my media-coverage page. You can also find a selection of my undergrad student essays (all in English) from University College Utrecht, Utrecht University, on my “UCU” page.
Click on the icon and/or corresponding web-links to download/access PDF (or other online format) copies. Neither the explanations nor the links are guaranteed to be updated subsequent to their initial posting here, hence it is possible, e.g., that some links have ceased working: let know if you find such cases (I have sometimes anticipated that by also providing print-screen PDFs, if initially in newspaper format, etc.).
Selection of some relatively recent essays/ presentations:
- “The Rise for Academic Integrity in Romanian (Domestic) Economic Sciences“, 1st version online on 4 Dec 2016. Co-authored by 9 Romanian economists from universities abroad and inside Romania, this study—complementing Buhai, Litan and Silaghi (2015), see the bullet point below on this page—shows that in Romania almost no academic economists meet basic international criteria for research quality, such that Romania’s (=an EU member, to put it in perspective) research output in Economic Sciences, adjusted for quality according to (any usual) international standards, is half that of Africa’s average(!), below that of unfortunate countries such as Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana, Trinidad-Tobago, Nigeria (not a joke, sadly). At the same time, the national evaluation/ promotion standards used in this field are fully out of line, such that even academics of global acclaim, including Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark, or Yrjö Jahnsson awardees, would not *minimally qualify* for Econ professorships in Romanian univs (not a joke either). Given that the domestic criteria in place have been decided by individuals failing any international scientific standards, some of whom also violate academic ethic in other ways, and that those people have influence over criteria to be set in the future, this is unlikely to change on its own. We therefore ask the global community of academics’ support for restoring sanity and decency to Economic Sciences in Romania, while calling on all domestic econs to rise for academic integrity and honor, for proper recognition of scientific values. The conclusions of this analysis have been commented by various mass media, including newspapers, radio, and news outlets; see my media coverage page for entries in December 2016 for such links. A large number of (foreign or domestic, including from other sciences) academics have already expressed dismay at the current state of affairs in RO Econ—for public reactions see, e.g., (re)tweets on the EconAcademia twitter in Dec 2016.
- “Disincentivizing the performance: the case of the Romanian national criteria for evaluating research in Economic Sciences”: English abstract of an article (in Romanian) that I wrote together with Cristian Litan and Gheorghe Silaghi in December 2015, as a chapter of the 2015 Report of the Think Tank G3A, concerning Science Policy in Romania (Report published in the December 2015 edition of the Journal of Science Policy and Scientometrics/ Revista de Politica Stiintei si Scientometrie). This paper was also presented, in English, in a plenary session on misevaluation of the RO Econ academe, at the ERMAS 2016 conference in Timisoara. We provided a descriptive analysis showing the absurdity of the Romanian national criteria for evaluating scientific research, and their consequences materializing in the proliferation and promotion of scientific pseudo-values, in the case of the Economic Sciences. Under the pretext of local scientometric objectivity, there are currently in use in Romania domestic evaluation standards that have nothing in common with the international academic standards used in the civilized world, explicitly ignoring the quality of the publications and implicitly disincentivizing performance and excellence in scientific research. This study (and its subsequent plenary conference presentation) has received extensive press (and even national television!) coverage in Romania: for collections of such links please see the ERMAS 2016 mass-media exposure document, the entries dated Aug/Sep 2016 on my media coverage page, or a brief summary (with reader comments) on my blog. Finally, this article has been also published—and subsequently discussed through blog comments—on Blog EconAcademia, a blog of Romanian economists initiated in Dec 2014.
- About an opportunity for the National Bank of Romania to make history and revolutionize research and graduate teaching in Economics within Romania, by following the Bank of Italy’s and Bank of Spain’s example with their EIEF and CEMFI institutes, and setting the basis of a “Romanian Institute for Economics and Finance” (Institutul Roman pentru Economie si Finante=IREF in Romanian): I wrote this essay (in Romanian) on 1 June 2015 for Blog EconAcademia, a blog of Romanian academic economists that I initiated. This initial article was excellently adapted for the Romanian newspaper Adevarul by Remus Florescu; see also my press coverage page: look up the entry for 17 June 2015.
- Initiating manifesto – in Romanian and respectively, in English – for the 1st Edition of the Annual Scientific Conference of Romanian Academic Economists from Abroad (in Romanian: 1a Editie a Conferintei Stiintifice a Economistilor Romani din Mediul Academic din Strainatate= ERMAS), co-authored with Mihai Copaciu, Cosmin Ilut, and Cristian Litan, in December 2013. A brochure for that conference, gathering several documents (the manifesto, our call for papers, the final program, and the list of participants) can be accessed here in Romanian or here in English. Full details at conferinta.econacademia.net or, easier for only English speaking folks, at english.econacademia.net. We also wrote a short statement for the Romanian press underlining some of the expectations for this conference (many of them fulfilled, a posteriori). See also a PDF list with links to press coverage of the ERMAS 2014 conference and its aftermath (including press coverage of our being awarded one of the “Top 100: People and Ideas that Move Romania” Foreign Policy (FP) Romania Prizes, at the category “Ideas/Projects”, in early March 2015, for initiating this ERMAS conference).
- Detailed answers to what finally became an unpublished 10-questions “interview” requested by Romanian national newspaper “Romania Libera”, 10 February 2012 (in Romanian)
- An article entitled “Unii dintre noi vom avea atâta timp liber încât ne vom plictisi. Altii deloc…” (this direct link to the article in Cotidianul online appears to have stopped working at some point, but use the link to the PDF copy from earlier) that I wrote for the Romanian newspaper Cotidianul in their series “5000 de semne ale viitorului”, published on the 20th of April 2008 (some info about the series in this article by Alexandra Badicioiu). The article linked above also contains some biographical information (both the article and the information have been edited by the journalists from Cotidianul to fit the required space and the format). If the direct link above stops functioning properly, you have above a link to the version saved on my site. There are also some more details and further references to the article linked in the comments section of this post on my old blog. The whole series was then published in a companion book “5000 de semne ale viitorului”: scan of front cover, first page of my article, second page of my article.
- Scientific Colloquium of Romanian researchers in Denmark, at the residence of the Romanian Ambassador in Denmark, Theodor Paleologu, on the 10th of March 2007. I presented “Economia ca stiinta sau despre imperialismul economic intre stiintele sociale”; you can dowload the PDF presentation linked at the start of this paragraph (in Romanian). I talked a bit more about this colloquium on my blog (also in Romanian). And you can also find something about this event on the site of the Romanian Embassy in DK.
Selection of older essays/ presentations, published in various Romanian mass-media (online or in print format; click to download):
First some short articles (in unedited version) published within the Educational Supplement of the newspaper Gandul, on the lives of several Nobel Laureates (that section is actually called, in direct translation from Romanian, “the Nobel Laureates are also humans…”). I don’t know yet if I will continue with this series.
- John Harsanyi: O Calatorie Incredibila sau “Daca Vrei cu Adevarat, Poti!” (You can also read this from my blog)- this has not been published in Gandul yet (or this is what I know, it sounds incredible but I am actually never informed whether something was published, will be published and so on- another reason why I am not sure whether it is worth continuing- my 100% voluntary- collaboration there).
- Jan Tinbergen: Un Om de Stiinta Coborat din Turnul de Fildes (I posted this also on my weblog, here).
- Jim Heckman: Independenta, Perseverenta, Excelenta. Punct si de la Capat… (You can also access it via my weblog)
I also published a short economic article (the most difficult part was to keep it that short) in the newspaper Cotidianul.
- Snapshot Economic al Europei in Tranzitie: Noiembrie 2005 .You can also read it directly on their site (I also posted it on my weblog).
I wrote another article
initially for the same newspaper Cotidianul but apparently they did not like it (I say “apparently”, since in fact I was never given a reason for “why not”, which is what I would have expected from rational people) so at the very end of the day I ended up just posting it on my blog. Well, who’s interested will find it, read it and- you’re welcome to, by the way- comment on it and on anything else that you find on this page.
I continue with the listing some articles that were initially published on the Romanian online independent portal “Romania, Libera in Viitor” (RLIV), within its weekly electronic publication called “ACUM” (you can find all other articles I wrote for RLIV-ACUM here), sometimes followed by their commenting or re-publication also in other mass-media outlets.
Highlights from RLIV-ACUM (especially articles concerned with science and research policy in Romania):
- Perspectiva Candidatilor la Presedintie asupra Cercetarii, Stiintei si Tehnologiei. Exemplul SUA, Deziderat in Romania
My questions concerning the status of scientific research in Romania from the second part of this article (the essay was published here, in the RLIV-ACUM’s “Research, Science, Technology” (in Romanian: “Cercetare, Stiinta, Tehnologie”) section that I founded and maintained as editor until June 2005), inspired from the questions addressed by the prestigious journal Science to the USA presidential candidates and addressed to the Romanian presidential candidates in 2004, were publicly sustained by means of open letters, by the Ad-Astra Association of Romanian Researchers (in Romanian: Asociatia “Ad-Astra” a Cercetatorilor Romani), the Romanian Academic Forum (in Romanian: Forumul Academic Roman=FAR) and by several scientists of Romanian origin, including the Nobel Prize Laureate, Professor George Emil Palade. Some accounts in the mass-media and on the web sites of the organizations involved can be read in what follows: press communicate FAR, press communicates Ad-Astra, open letter signed also by Prof. Palade, other echoes in the Romanian mass-media: Evenimentul Zilei (also here and here), Ziua (also here), Romanian Global News (also here). Two of the Romanian presidential candidates answered the questions, Mr. Marko Bela and Mr. Adrian Nastase. A reaction of FAR to these two answers can be read here.
This short essay is the result of a joint brainstorming of several Romanian scientists working in research outside Romania, voluntarily organized in a taskforce to help the Romanian Ministry of Education in its planned reform of the Romanian High Education and Research sectors- it summarizes imperative measures needed to reform the doctoral programs in Romania and to consequently contribute to the rebirth of the Romanian doctoral prestige. It was published here, in the section “Cercetare, Stiinta, Tehnologie” of RLIV-ACUM. Miruna Munteanu wrote an excellent article related to this document in Ziua.
I wrote this essay linked above for the conference “Migration of Young Romanian Researchers: Performances and Possibilities of Return”, organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute (Institutul Cultural Roman=ICR) in Sinaia,October 2004. The essay can be found on the site of the ICR, it was published also on RLIV-ACUM (here with the abstract in the beginning as well), and in the Ad-Astra Journal.
- PDF Presentation of the paper “Conditia Cercetatorului…” (plus some other thoughts), at the Sinaia conference mentioned above
Some people in the audience totally disagreed with me, but that presentation seemed to be interesting (provoking?) enough to get me quite a few subsequent interviews for Romanian TV channels, radio, and press…
Other— random selection—articles published in RLIV-ACUM (selection):
- Scurt despre Zei si Pamanteni in Context Autohton
- Cum Clavis: Modul de Alegere a Viitorului Papa
- Opinia Cititorului: Cu Trenul prin Romania. Partea a II-a
- A Face o Diferenta
- Noteaza-ti profesorii: www.calificativ.ro
- Reflectii (Utopice) de Duminica Seara pe Tema Societatii Civile Active
- Opinia Cititorului: Cu Trenul prin Romania
- Cat de Fioros Este Leul Greu? Despre Implicatiile Denominarii Monedei Nationale din Iulie 2005
- Consideratii Subiective asupra Retoricii Publice: Logos, Pathos, Ethos in Versiune Mioritica
- Note de Trecere, Mizerii si Dogme
- Elitele Autohtone: Conflict si Mediocritate (Pledoarie pentru Cooperare)
- Plesu si Mancatorii de Sarmale
- Un ecou la “Elementele Nonverbale…”
- Ma-Ia-Hii, Ma-Ia-Huu, Ma-Ia-Hoo, Ma-Ia-Haa si Adevarata Muzica Romaneasca
- Germania de Est: Popularitate Ingrijoratoare a Extremismului Politic
- Performanta Economica a Presedintilor Americani in Perioada Postbelica
- Talmaciri din Harry Mulisch: “Descoperirea Paradisului”
- “Cercetare, Stiinta, Tehnologie”: O Rubrica la Inceput de Drum
- 15 milioane de Oameni
- Fahrenheit 9/11- FILMUL