The Romanian Academy of Scientists (AOSR) has recently been the target of a new political attack by a party that has made it a priority to denigrate and slander the institution by using fake news, personal attacks, misinformation and lies, grossly misinforming and manipulating public opinion.
The gentlemen who launched the recent attack, together with a “consistent” group of supporters (about 15 people), after having finished solving Romania’s major problems (PNRR, pandemic, transport), in the absence of new ideas, decided to reheat the “soup poor in ideas” and reactivate their hatred for science, culture, history, religion, the academic movement. The new attack is part of a smear campaign, initiated a few years ago and carried out with furious emphasis by the party, which stands out in the public arena by accusing, slandering and calling for the dismantling of public institutions in the fields of science, research and recent history as part of its political programme.
This attack, carried out in a show of force and intimidation, an act of aggression of increased force against the institution and individuals, throws back into the “battle” denigrating expressions, slander and lies, using the same false “arguments”, also broadcast in the past in the public arena.
The Romanian Academy of Scientists expresses its indignation and strongly protests against this act of political violence and ideological extremism, built on lies, attacks on the person, misinformation and manipulation, alien to the values of European civilization, and more proper to societies and ideologies based on force and aggression.
In this context, for the public to know the truth, the Romanian Academy of Scientists makes the following clarifications:
1. The Romanian Academy of Scientists is not a “phantom institution”, but a legally functioning institution, with history, with activity dedicated to science and progress through knowledge, with prestigious members, resonant names of Romanian and international science and research, with outstanding scientific results. The institution was founded on 29 March 1935 as the Romanian Academy of Sciences by the liberal minister of education, the doctor and university professor Constantin Angelescu, and a group of scientists. After the fall of the communist regime, it was re-established as the Academy of Romanian Scientists, at the initiative of General and Professor Vasile Cândea, an illustrious name of medicine and of the Romanian school of cardiovascular surgery, and it operates by Law no. 31 of 15 January 2007, having the status of “continuator and sole legatee” of the Romanian Academy of Sciences. This law, voted unanimously by the Parliament, was initiated neither by President Iliescu, nor by Mr. Meleșcanu or any other of the persons mentioned by the (dis)informers, but by the late Senators Ion Basgan and Radu Câmpeanu, together with many other valuable parliamentarians.
2. Membership of the Romanian Academy of Scientists is based on firm and precise criteria relating to the activity, results, relevance, international recognition, number of citations and scientific merits of its members. The latest legislative initiative (PL-x no. 490/2021), approved by Parliament and currently being promulgated, provides, at the request of the President of Romania, clear criteria for granting or losing membership of the AOSR.
3. The Romanian Academy of Scientists is an apolitical organization by statute. Membership of the AOSR has nothing to do with political affiliation or ideology. The political affiliation of some AOSR members is strictly a personal choice. Their political affiliation or sympathy is not aimed at a single party, as obsessively and falsely emphasised in the public arena by the institution’s detractors. In the AOSR structure, there are members of several parties in Romania, without their political affiliation influencing their scientific, research or educational activity. The public activity of those cited in the “public indictment” and of all members must be strictly separated from their scientific or academic activity.
4. The AOSR is not a “sinecure”, populated by “sinecureists”, as it is tendentiously and degradingly claimed, citing a number of names of public personalities, from a truncated, subjective perspective, which falls under attack on the person. The indemnities of AOSR members are based on the legal provisions and are awarded, as provided by law, for a life dedicated to education and science.
5. Some of the incriminated persons, with public visibility, have honorary status within the AOSR and have never received an indemnity from the AOSR (Ion Iliescu, Teodor Meleșcanu, Ion Cristoiu, Ben-Oni Ardelean etc.).
6. The heirs of AOSR members did not and do not receive any survivor’s benefits, although the law would allow it.
7. The Romanian Academy of Scientists does not have 67 employees, as falsely claimed, but, with a small difference, 17.
8. A substantial part of the budget of the Romanian Academy of Scientists is dedicated to the annual research programme for young researchers at postdoctoral level. In the 2023 selection process, more than 200 scientific projects competed. Currently, more than 50 projects funded by the AOSR are underway involving diverse areas and themes, covering fundamental and cutting-edge areas of advanced research.
9. The “lack of activity” or contributions to the scientific progress of the Romanian Academy of Scientists, accused by those who attack the institution, is false information, based on lack of information and the obvious intention to denigrate and discredit at any cost. A simple consultation of the institution’s website (www.aosr.ro) shows a complex and intense activity in all the scientific fields falling within the scope of the AOSR’s activities. The work of the AOSR is carried out both centrally, through scientific programmes and projects, through national and international conference series and debates, and at the level of sections and branches. The AOSR is composed of prestigious scientists, internationally recognised scholars, personalities of contemporary science, research and knowledge, elite members of the academic world, respected names in academia.
10. The scientific complexity and unquestionable value of the work of the AOSR is expressed in the international recognition of the research results carried out by the members of the institution, in the number of citations and in their scientific visibility. According to Web of Science, AOSR is rated with 371 papers and 4284 citations in 2022, and according to Google Scholar, posted on the institution’s website, the numbers are more than double.
11. An objective certification of the value of the activity of the Romanian Academy of Scientists is the constant position of the AOSR in the prestigious international SCIMAGO-Elsevier ranking, which evaluates and ranks the performance of the world’s universities and research institutes. According to SCIMAGO-Elsevier, the Romanian Academy of Scientists ranks 9th among research institutions in Romania. Note that only two institutions in Romania appear in the top 800 places: The Romanian Academy and the Romanian Academy of Scientists.
12. Another false “charge” against the Romanian Academy of Scientists refers to the Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research “Constantin Angelescu”, called “pseudo-institute”. In order to know the truth, the Institute carries out a complex activity, consisting of scientific projects in cutting-edge areas (digitisation, online education, etc.). It is not funded by public money, but operates on a self-financing basis through projects.
In the name of fairness, values and principles of democracy, the Romanian Academy of Scientists strongly condemns partisan attitudes, lacking objectivity and deontology, as well as the new political attack on the institution and advocates respect for truth and reality in any public endeavour. The AOSR reserves the right to act by all legal means, in an academic spirit, to defend the truth, the dignity of the institution and its members.
The management of the AOSR is prepared to provide the media with any information requested in order to facilitate an objective, informed presentation by the media. The members of AOSR, attached to the institution and its mission, will continue their work in the service of Romanian science and creation.
Scientific Council of the Romanian Academy of Scientists