North Korea’s Science and Technology Journals: Getting to Know the Scholars (Part 1)

Cover of Kisul Hyoksin / 기술혁신 (Complex Innovation), no. 12 (2020). Who are the researchers…

North Korea’s Science and Technology Journals: Getting to Know the Scholars (Part 1)
Cover of Kisul Hyoksin / 기술혁신 (Complex Innovation), no. 12 (2020).

Who are the researchers and engineers of North Korea? What are their backgrounds? Wherever have they examined abroad? Who are their international colleagues? The place are they working now? What do they know? What have they released? What lab equipment do they have? What are their principal places of research and development?

This sort of issues are essential for analysts, journalists and some others hoping to piece collectively this kind of puzzles as the technological level of numerous industrial sectors in the civilian economy or the point out of exploration and growth for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea).[1]

North Korea releases fairly little information and facts on its total economic climate, certain industries or these kinds of delicate armed forces topics as WMD programs, but analysts and other people can make use of the country’s open resources to acquire beneficial insights on DPRK science and technology (S&T). The most sensitive information—that about WMD and other parts of military research—does not lie involving the addresses of North Korea’s revealed textbooks and periodicals. Pyongyang makes readily available overseas no military science journals or purely armed service research papers. But, a terrific offer of posted facts is out there that provides a excellent numerous items to a person puzzle or yet another, no matter if purely civilian in nature, twin use or military services.

This post is the first of two on employing DPRK S&T literature and other media as the basis for building fairly in-depth profiles of North Korean researchers, engineers and their affiliated establishments. It starts with a listing of available S&T periodicals and concludes with a part on its shortcomings in comparison to equivalent literature printed in other nations.

Periodical Listing and Details

Korea Publications Export & Import Corporation (KPEIC), the DPRK’s unique company for overseas product sales of North Korean textbooks and periodicals, publishes a publications catalog that involves Rodong Sinmun, the day-to-day newspaper of the ruling Employees Party of Korea[2] the illustrated every month Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and other propaganda journals made for foreign audiences and journals in the pure and social sciences.[3]

For this investigation, 40 DPRK S&T journals were examined (Appendix I involves a full record of titles with bibliographic data).[4]

Numerous Titles Readily available, Lots of A lot more Missing

Protect of Kwahak-ui Segye / 과학의 세계 (Globe of Science), no. 6 (2019).

The 40 periodicals earlier mentioned go over a vast assortment of fields, as their titles point out, together with these kinds of scientific fields as biology, chemistry, and physics, as nicely as parts of industrial engineering, like agriculture, forestry, and technical innovation in normal. Provided are a number of science journals from Kim Il Sung College (KISU), the DPRK’s flagship university. There is also a periodical of worldwide science news, Environment of Science, for the standard reader.

Though 40 titles could feel like a relative abundance of riches for a state with a status for secrecy, they are only the idea of the iceberg. For case in point, Kim Chaek College of Technology (KCUT), another of Pyongyang’s powerhouse S&T universities, has its very own publishing dwelling. It creates at least one S&T periodical, which is not amid the 40 shown in the appendix.[5] A person has to surprise how several other DPRK universities, to say very little of the branches and institutes of the State Academy of Sciences or other do the job models in North Korea, publish S&T literature.[6]

Brief on Information and facts

In comparison to equivalent periodicals printed in other countries, the DPRK publications shown in Appendix I are short on details. Some of the obtainable journals absence post summaries and/or a desk of contents in English, a common element in journals in China and other countries with S&T literature released in languages other than English.

There is little facts on the authors of the articles—only a few of the 40 journals offer any writer information at all. Entries in the DPRK’s Journal of Creation consist of the normal subject code (72), which is the title of the inventors, and (77), which seems to identify their affiliated business. In the journal Agricultural Irrigation and World of Science, some writers are determined as “this company’s reporter” or by title and/or affiliation. It may well be affordable to believe that authors showing in KISU journals are affiliated with Kim Il Sung College, but their affiliation is not provided. No journal in the 40 utilised for this investigation involves such standard track record details as an author’s instruction or analysis pursuits.

Go over of the Kim Il-track Chonghap Taehak Hakpo: Chongbo Kwahak / 김일성종합대학: 정보과학 (Journal of Kim Il Sung University [Information Science]) 66, no. 3 (2020).

Posts in the journals examined also tend to be a great deal briefer than what is printed in scientific journals in other places in the environment. An short article of six pages is comparatively extended in journals, wherever lots of content operate to only a few to 4 web pages. The endnotes, too, are handful of in amount. It is feasible to run across an write-up of 1 or even two dozen citations, but most have less than a half dozen references.[7] By comparison, it is typical to have a number of dozen endnotes in a one posting in Western S&T literature.

The accompanying illustrations also appear to be fewer than what would be featured in articles or blog posts released elsewhere in the earth. Pyongyang’s bimonthly Globe of Science, for illustration, only characteristics a number of illustrations in black and white per challenge, whereas Learn and Scientific American, to identify two US counterpart periodicals, abound in color photographs and illustrations. North Korean posts also absence language on conflict of curiosity, frequent in content articles released somewhere else, and an acknowledgments part.

One particular detail North Korean S&T journals include that is not located in Western journals is political justification. Each short article begins with a estimate from a leader. Older content quote the very first chief, Kim Il Sung more recent kinds tend to cite some thing from the collected will work of Kim Jong Il or something from incumbent Kim Jong Un. The quotations, which can assortment from the unique to the common, are a justification for scientists to go after operate in just one place or an additional. For instance, in an write-up released very last 12 months on calculating equipment effectiveness primarily based on the World wide web of Matters (IoT), the authors started off their report with a quotation from the present-day chief on vigorously acquiring breakthroughs in highly developed technologies to develop the country’s knowledge financial state.[8]

Aside from the previously mentioned differences, DPRK researchers observe generally the identical format as their counterparts in other nations around the world. They set forth a challenge, cite preceding academic literature, present their materials and methods, give a conclusion, and conclusion with references.

What’s Future

Getting listed the titles obtainable and the shortcomings of people DPRK S&T periodicals, I will present in the subsequent write-up means to use individuals journals to discover about Pyongyang’s researchers and engineers, from their backgrounds to their global connections, knowledge, and the tools at their disposal.


“North Korea’s Science and Technological know-how Journals: Having to Know the Scholars (Component 1) Appendix I,” by Stephen Mercado