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Cern has terminated cooperation with Russia and Belarus. © Laurent Gillieron/KEYSTONE/dpa

The Russian war also tested science. Thousands of researchers at CERN in Geneva are experiencing what that means.

Geneva – A dispute over the name of Russia’s institutes for scientific studies is causing a unique backlog of particle physics publications. Thousands of physicists who participated in experiments at the particle accelerator at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva have not seen the results of their work published in specialized journals for months, the director told the German Press Agency. researcher at Cern, Joachim Mnich. . There are now about 200 studies, half of which have already been assessed by independent experts (peer review) and theoretically approved for publication.

Specialized journals insist that the authors be clearly identified. This usually happens when naming their institutes. However, some Cern cooperation partners block this in the case of Russian institutes, as Mnich says. One of the stumbling blocks is that the governing bodies of some of these institutes have endorsed Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Publications are important for researchers

“Publications are the hard currency of science, both for young people’s careers and for funding applications,” Mnich said. The pressure to reach a solution is mounting. CERN studies are already published as preliminary work when submitted to specialized journals. But in some countries, doctoral theses can only be completed if the authors have published in peer-reviewed journals. That is not the case in Germany.

It’s not about not naming the authors who have contributed to a study, Mnich emphasized. It’s about institutes. An alternative could be to identify participants by their ORCID number. Each scientist has such an identifier, which stands for “Open Researcher & Contributor ID”, in order to clearly assign his contributions, for example, if their names are the same as each other or have a different spelling. According to Mnich, the list of authors of the Cern experiments usually includes up to 3,000 names.

CERN experiments are accompanied by a collaborative committee in which all contributing institutes have a vote. So far, no agreement has been found there. Cern has terminated cooperation with Russia and Belarus. However, they will run until 2024. “This is a very emotional issue, which makes it difficult to find an acceptable compromise,” Mnich said. dpa

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