Anti-Mobbing Help for Scientists

Say NO to Academic Mobbing &
Stalking and Scientific Misconduct!


Academic mobbing over a number of months or even years is the most prominent type of bullying in academia and a well-studied research subject in psychology and medicine. It is frequent cause of psychological or physical violence conducted by a group of colleagues or by an individual such as the boss. A brief two-page introduction and definition is given below.

Mobbing & bullying (and stalking) are directed against the victim with a conscious desire to hurt, threaten, or frighten. This puts the victim under immense stress and causes serious illnesses, which might eventually result in work incapacity and even in death (suicide). Since the occurrence of workplace mobbing has been shown to be primarily an important employer’s problem, it already forms explicit part of worker protection laws and criminal law in many countries worldwide (e.g. Austria (particularly cyber-mobbing), Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, and USA).

Mobbing as "downward bullying" by superiors is also known as "bossing" and "upward bullying" by colleagues as "staffing" in some European countries. (Note that the terms "mobbing" and "bullying" are used synonymously in English.)

Mobbing at academic institutions and universities including medical clinics is known as being more subtle than usual and might even go beyond the particular organization, giving rise to a national and international level of bullying by colleagues. Workplace mobbing also involves an enormous waste of talent, time and money, which would be preventable by structural improvements in organizations. 

A number of mobbing indicators and questionnaires are available to determine the presence and extent of bullying, see below. For instance, mobbing victims may be the target of unwanted physical contact, violence, obscene or loud language during meetings, be disparaged among their colleagues in venues they are not aware of, confronted with undue demands for compliance with regulations, excluded from relevant meetings, research and work tasks, and face difficulties with promotion and tenure.

The organizational structure of academic institutions often make it hard for victims to seek help internally, and appeals to external authorities can be surprisingly counterproductive. Therefore, academics who are subject to bullying are often overly cautious about reporting any problems and asking for mitigation instead of contacting colleagues, other victims, mobbing helplines, antidiscrimination bodies, lawyers, and medical psychologists.

Read the Two-Page Brief Introduction to Academic Mobbing by the Canadian expert Prof. Dr. Kenneth Westhues in Academic Matters:
Download PDF (read article pages 18-19):
Read PDF online (go to the PDF pages 15-16 to read the article pages 18-19):

Another intriguing recent article on Academic Mobbing is by the American expert Prof. Dr. Sherry Moss in Nature:

An outstanding article on Academic Mobbing is also by the Canadian expert Prof. Dr. Eve Seguin in University Affairs:

Two short, but helpful, Academic Mobbing articles are by the Austrian expert Prof. Dr. Rotraud A. Perner in the Austrian Standard: [EN] [EN]

Another brief introduction to Academic Mobbing (particularly, of medical doctors) is by two German law experts as follows:

Network of dismissed professors (Netzwerk entlassener ProfessorInnen) (NEP):

Recent empirical analysis of the dismissal of university professors and Academic Mobbing:
EN: Dismissal and public demotion of professors: An empirical analysis of structural commonalities in apparently different ‘cases’
DE: Entlassung und öffentliche Degradierung von Professorinnen. Eine empirische Analyse struktureller Gemeinsamkeiten anscheinend unterschiedlicher „Fälle“

Current N2 Position Paper about Power Abuse and Conflict Resolution by the Helmholtz Juniors, the Doctoral Researchers of the IPP Mainz, the Leibniz PhD Network, and the Max Planck PhDnet, representing 15,000 PhD students in Germany:
EN: Conflict Resolution and Power Abuse in Science
DE: Konfliktlösung und Machtmissbrauch in der Wissenschaft

Former Bullied Into Bad Science campaign collecting signatures for a fairer, more open and ethical research and publication environment: