The Market of Academic Texts in Russia (according to a qualitative survey)

The Market of Academic Texts in Russia (according to a qualitative survey)

Chepurenko A. Yu.

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Professor, HSE University, Moscow, Russia.

Chernysheva M.V.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assistant Professor, HSE University, Moscow, Russia.

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Chepurenko A. Yu., Chernysheva M.V. The Market of Academic Texts in Russia (according to a qualitative survey). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2024. No 3. P. 44-56


In Russia, there exists a market where academic texts are sold and bought, from student qualification papers to scientific articles and dissertations. Although its existence violates the formal norms and values of the scientific community, it functions sustainably. The authors analyze the established practices of writing academic texts on demand (with an emphasis on the study of the social behavior of actors) as part of a specific organizational field, a kind of market. The study is based on semi-structured interviews with six direct actors, so-called scriptors (or ghostwriters) and four experts representing NGOs in the field of science and higher education. Destructive entrepreneurship in the system of higher education and science is characterized as a complex system, the actors of which are not only informally “self-employed” scriptors, but also formal organizations that provide contact between customers and performers of academic work. The stability of quasiscientific texts market in Russia is associated at the macro level with the high demand for higher education and scientific degrees as a status attribute, as well as with a significant supply from scientific and pedagogical workers, thus compensating for the limited opportunities for legal academic entrepreneurship by informal destructive entrepreneurship. At the meso level, the institutional conditions are the rigidity of Russian universities, which continue to be primarily educational institutions, where legal academic entrepreneurship of an innovative type is developing very modestly, and low salaries of staff members. At the micro level, it is an attempt to impose publication activity as the main criterion of academic success in conditions where a significant part of university staff perceive themselves as teachers, not researchers, and do not seek (or do not have the opportunity) to change this situation.

market of academic texts; scientific institutions; system of higher education; informal economic activity; destructive entrepreneurship; Russia


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