Information Transfer in Soviet Science and Engineering

A Study of Documentary Channels

by Bruce Parrott

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Examines the effectiveness of the USSR's formal channels for transferring scientific and technical information within the country and in absorbing information from other technologically developed countries. The USSR has greatly improved the flow of documents, but serious problems remain. It publishes high-quality secondary information sources, but has done little to computerize information services; book publishing suffers from long delays and limited press-runs; assimilation of foreign publications is deficient; and Soviet patents, foreign and domestic equipment catalogs, and engineering documents are not readily obtainable. These problems are rooted in the Soviet system's tendency toward bureaucratic autarky, faulty coordination of closely related activities, and deep suspicion of the outside world. Consequently, improvement of the information system is likely to be slow, despite the ability of the USSR to mobilize resources and achieve economies of scale.

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