Status and prospects of development of Russian sport science in context of scientific sports periodicals


Professor, Dr.Hab. L.I. Lubysheva1
Associate Professor, Dr.Hab. S.N. Litvinenko2
Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sport, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPC), Moscow
ANO Scientific-publishing center “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury i sporta”, Moscow


The article analyzes the current research situation and development trends in the Russian physical culture and sports science. Special attention is given to the modern science metrics including the author’s publishing activity rating by citation indices. An emphasis is made on the correct thematic positioning of a research publication to help improve the author’s citation index and on the correlations of the Journal’s impact factor with the authors’ citation indices.

Keywords: sport science, citation index, impact factor, electronic publications, international databases


It was on 3-5 December 2015 that Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sport, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPC, Moscow) hosted the All-Russian Research and Practical Conference  (open for foreign participants) “Russian Sport Science: State and Development Prospects” on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the “Theory and Practice of Physical Culture” [“Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury”] Journal.

Participating in the Conference were scientists, sport specialists and coaches from 4 countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan). Russian regions were broadly represented at the Conference by the academic specialists and scientists from research institutions who came from 34 Russian cities, namely Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Velikiye Luki, Volgograd, Volzhskiy, Vologda, Yekaterinburg, Izhevsk, Yoshkar-Ola, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Maykop, Nalchik, Nizhnevartovsk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Saransk, Smolensk, Surgut, Syktyvkar, Tomsk, Tyumen, Tchaikovsky, Cheboksary, Chelyabinsk, Chernyakhovsk, Ulan-Ude, Ufa and Yakutsk.

As far as the research capacity of the Conference is concerned, it should be mentioned that it was attended by 4 Academicians and Corresponding Members of the Russian Academies of Science, 47 Doctors of Science, 75 PhDs, 55 postgraduates, 12 masters and students, and 3 government officers from the relevant legislative and executive bodies. Published in materials of the Conference were in total 109 research reports classified into 3 sections [1].

The Round Table “Role of the “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” Journal in the Innovation Processes in the Physical Culture and Sports Sector” was finalized by nomination of the winners of the “Best Scientific Article of 2015” Annual Contest that has become traditional for the “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” Journal. Winners of the 2015 Contest were the following:

First prize was awarded to PhD Pronin S.A. for the cycle of articles considering operations of the “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” Journal, ##1-12;

Second prize was awarded to Dr.Hab. Shirkovets Y.A. and Dr.Hab. Shustin B.M. for the article “Sprint swimmers’ competitive performance structure analysis”, #10; and

Third prize was awarded to Dr.Hab. Loginov S.I. and postgraduates Nikolaev A.Y.,   Vetoshnikov A.Y. and Sagadeyev S.G for the article “Students’ physical activity at two universities of Surgut city as profiled by the IPAQ international questionnaire”, # 9.

The winners received cups and diplomas from the TPFK Journal Editorial Board. On the whole, the Conference was considered highly beneficial by providing an insight into the modern Russian sport science situation both in the geographical and substantial aspects. The Conference covered virtually every active “breading ground” of the ongoing research activity in different domains of the national physical culture and sports sector.

Objective of the study was to analyze the current research situation and development trends in the Russian physical culture and sport science and identify the most promising areas for the scientific activity efficiency improvements.

Study results and discussion. On the plenary sessions, in the section reports and in the Round Table discussions, the Conference participants all voiced the opinion that Russian sport science is showing good progress and in some areas keeps abreast with the best international research standards – mostly in the athletic training process advancing technologies.

Virtually every participant to the “Russian Sport Science: State and Development Prospects” Conference confessed being interested not only in retrospective analyses of when has been done in the sport science history and reported on pages of the “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” Journal for the 90 years, but also in the prospects of and priorities for further progress. And it is the modern science-metric criteria including the publication/ citation indices that will be given a top priority in this context.

As things now stand in the national sport science, it is rather the number of the demand publications (the ones that are referred to by other researchers as verified by the citation indices) than the total count of publications (that was in the lead before) that has been generally accepted as the most important performance efficiency indicator in metrics of researchers and university educators. Many national higher educational establishments and research institutions have included the citation indices into the lists of requirements to the annual performance reports made by their research and academic staff members; and they widely use these indices in the competitive selections of candidates for the relevant research/ academic positions and for their motivation / bonus payment plans. A few establishments and institutions that are still lagging behind in this process cannot but join it soon, i.e. are expected to make a transition to this staff performance rating system in the near future.

For the citation index being on the rise, the authors strive to publish their reports in highly reputable journals having long success history, on condition of a comprehensive scientific reviewing procedure being applied by the journal. It should be noted that it is the foreign citation that is considered particularly important and valuable at present, but it cannot be attained unless the publishing journal is present in the relevant global databases readily accessible both for the national and foreign research community. Moreover, such journal must have high impact-factor that means the citation index of the journal on the whole (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Top list of the most cited national sport journals (as provided by report [2] as of December 2015)

Scientific electronic library





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Covered or not by Web of Science/ Scopus/ RSCI/ SAC/

Published now Only scientific

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1. Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury

2. Uchenye zapiski universiteta imeni P.F. Lesgafta

3. Fizicheskaya kul'tura: vospitanie, obrazovanie, trenirovka

4. Pedagogika, psikhologiya i mediko-biologicheskie problemy fizicheskogo vospitaniya i sporta

5. Fizicheskaya kul'tura v shkole


Russian science citation index

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What are the ways to raise the citation index? The first thing to be noted is that both Russian and foreign authors show the highest and most stable interest in scientific research topics. Furthermore, every author needs to compare own findings with the data reported by other researchers, and the best way to find the publications of interest is through the keywords. The “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” Journal gives preference in its publications to the articles that report findings of comprehensively designed studies using generally accepted and reputable methods – preferably the instrumental ones.

Furthermore, the authors need to understand that some areas of the national sport science relating to specific aspects of the physical education and sport sector of Russia may be of purely local importance and, hence, of little if any interest for the global sport community. This is true mostly for a variety of matters with concern to the physical education systems applied by the national high educational establishments.

It should be emphasized in this context that the high professional education curricula of the countries governed by the Bologna Agreement are free of disciplines like “Physical Education”, and this is the reason why this topic is often irrelevant for the foreign readers. Even translations of such articles into English are often riddled with problems on the notional level since the local terms and definitions are hardly understandable for the lack of similarities in the national systems; therefore, the translations are necessarily too literal and obscure for a foreign scientist. The authors need to be aware of the fact that publications of that kind in the “Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” Journal are very likely to fall flat in the sense that no foreign citing may be expected; and this situation, in its turn, may be of detriment for the TPPC Journal’s impact-factor and metrics of other authors – that may even result at some point in the TPPC Journal being removed from Scopus database.

Since the Physical Education discipline is traditional for the Russian high education system, it undoubtedly deserves being duly studied by researchers and modelled by the academic community. It is also traditional that this topic is highly popular and rated high among the subject matters of research theses, publications and reports. But it still needs to be correctly positioned in the national research periodicals in fact.

Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind that Physical Education and Sports as a research speciality is unrelated to educational sciences in foreign systems – being rather rated as a separate scientific domain (that means, among other things, that one can have a scientific degree in Physical Education and Sports). This is the reason for foreign theses being designed as pure research studies irrelevant to educational technologies, models, systems, concepts etc. National authors need to be aware of these facts when developing their publishing activity plans (see Table 1).

Table 1. Background information for the publishing activity planning



SAC List



Core content of publications

“Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury” (Russian version)





Materials of doctoral theses, study reports by sport universities and PC departments

“Fizicheskaya kul'tura: vospitanie, obrazovanie, trenirovka”



Application documents submitted


Materials of PhD and Master theses; study reports by PE specialists and children’s coaches

Theory and Practice of Physical Culture, (English version)


Application documents submitted


Research studies of promise for the international citation system

Note: RSCI Russian Scientific Citation Index; SAC Supreme Attestation Commission;


Research process efficiency improvement in national physical culture and sports is achievable only through transition to the modern research reporting standards including the study design, implementation and presentation standards; with special attention being given to the modern scientific performance metrics including the citation indices, impact factors, international databases etc.


  1. Sportivnaya nauka Rossii: sostoyanie i perspektivy razvitiya: mater. Vseros. nauch.-prakt. konf., posvyashchennoy 90-letiyu zhurnala «Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury» (Russian Sport Science: state and development prospects: Proc. of res.-practical conf., dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the journal «Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury») 3-5 December 2015) / Ed. by L.I. Lubysheva, S.N. Litvinenko. – Moscow: RSUPCSYT, 2015. – 484 p.