DZHW Scientists Surveys – a barometer for the academic world

Start of the project: 01-Jan-2010

The DZHW Scientists Survey was launched in 2009 by the then Institute for Research Information and Quality Assurance (iFQ). The survey is a core tool designed to provide insight into working conditions in German universities as well as to elicit opinions on the state and long-term development of the German science system. As such, the DZHW Scientists Survey represents a continuous mood barometer of the academic world.

The DZHW Scientists Survey aims to become the key German survey program in the field of science research. It is conceptualized as a multi-topic survey with the goal of making high-quality, well documented data readily available on a regular and permanent basis. The data are provided to interested parties, especially those involved in research and science policy, via the DZHW Research Data Center (FDZ).

The survey

The DZHW Scientists Survey is conducted every three years as an online survey of researchers working at German universities, including teaching, theological and medical colleges as well as colleges of fine arts and music. The DZHW Scientists Survey has a core module which covers topics including demographics, working situations and research environments. In addition, modules about specific topics, for example scientific integrity or funding applications, will be included on a rotating basis every six years. Moreover, some survey space will be reserved to integrate ad hoc topical questions relevant to research policy. The most recent survey in 2016 achieved 4844 responses and the next survey will take place in the fall of 2019.


There has long been a lack of public knowledge about the situation and trajectory of the sciene system in Germany. This is all the more surprising because this system was and is subject to a far-reaching process of change and reform, a circumstance which arguably justifies the heightened interest in scientists’ views on those reforms.

As a consequence, the then Institute for Research Information and Quality Assurance (iFQ) established the Scientists Survey in 2009. The first round of this survey offers insights into working conditions in higher education institutions in Germany as well as scientists’ attitudes towards programs and institutions of scientific funding (such as, for example, the German Excellence Initiative). Moreover, the survey studies discourses on science policy with special regard for the ratio of basic and external funding as well as peer-review systems. These issues were also investigated in the most recent survey round in 2016.

After the merger of DZHW and iFQ in January of 2016, the second Scientists Survey was conducted by DZHW’s section 2 “Research System and Science Dynamics” during the period of March through May of 2016. For the first time, non-professorial academic staff were included in addition to professors in German universities.

The survey was initially conducted on a five-yearly basis; the interval of the trend survey was subsequently shortened to three years.


Ambrasat, J. (2019). Bezahlt oder unbezahlt? Überstunden im akademischen Mittelbau. Forschung und Lehre, 2/2019.

Johann, D., & Neufeld, J. (2018). Zur Beurteilung der Bewerbungslage an deutschen Universitäten. Ergebnisse der DZHW-Wissenschaftlerbefragung. (DZHW Brief 1|2018). Hannover: DZHW. Download

Johann, D., & Mayer, S. (2017). Was Wissenschaftler/innen an Universitäten über das Promotionsrecht für Fachhochschulen denken. Das Hochschulwesen (HSW), 6/2017.

Konsortium Bundesbericht Wissenschaftlicher Nachwuchs (2017). Bundesbericht Wissenschaftlicher Nachwuchs 2017. Statistische Daten und Forschungsbefunde zu Promovierenden und Promovierten in Deutschland. Bielefeld.

Tesch, J., Huber, N., Neufeld J., Donner, P., Aman, V., & Gauch, S. (2017). Beitrag des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses zu Lehre, Forschung und Transfer/Innovation. Berlin: DZHW.

Johann, D., Möller, T., & Neufeld, J. (2016). Gut für Projektionen - Was Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler über die Exzellenzinitiative denken. duz Deutsche Universitätszeitung, 8/2016, S. 22-23.

Johann, D., & Neufeld, J. (2016). Performance Based Funding and Researchers’ Strategies for Grant Applications. In Ràfols, I., Molas-Gallart, J., Castro-Martínez, E., & Woolley, R. (Hrsg.), Peripheries, frontiers and beyond. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (S. 1332-1338). València: Editorial Universitat Politècnica de València.

Johann, D., & Neufeld, J. (2016). Nachwuchsprobleme. Situation und Berufsziele des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses. Forschung & Lehre, 9/2016, 790-791.

Reinhart, M., & Heßelmann, F. (2016). Sanktion ja, Debatte nein. duz Deutsche Universitätszeitung (11/2016), S. 14-15.

Böhmer, S., Neufeld, J., Hinze, S., Klode, C., & Hornbostel, S. (Hrsg.) (2011). Wissenschaftler-Befragung 2010: Forschungsbedingungen von Professorinnen und Professoren an deutschen Universitäten. iFQ-Working Paper No.8. Bonn: iFQ.

Selected Presentations

Jerke, J., Johann, D., Rauhut, H., & Thomas, K. (2017). The Applicability of RRT & the ICT in the Field of Higher Education Research & Science Studies. 7th Conference of the European Survey Research Association (ESRA), Lissabon, Portugal.

Johann, D., & Mayer, S.J. (2017). The perception of scientific authorship across disciplines. Eu-SPRI VIENNA 2017, Wien, Österreich.

Neufeld, J. (2017). Wer kommt auf die Liste? – Welche Kriterien halten Wissenschaftler*innen bei der Bewerberauswahl in Berufungsverfahren für entscheidend? Ergebnisse aus der DZHW Wissenschaftler-befragung 2016. DZHW Workshop „Rekrutierung von Professor*innen“, Berlin.

Johann, D., & Neufeld, J. (2016). Performance-based allocation of funds, pressure to publish and publication strategies. Paper presentation at the 4S/EASST CONFERENCE BARCELONA - 2016: Science and Technology by Other Means, Barcelona, Spain.

Neufeld, J., & Johann, D. (2016). Performance Based Funding and Researchers' Grant Application Strategies. Posterpräsentation auf der 21st International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators: Peripheries, Frontiers and Beyond, Valencia, Spain.

Neufeld, J. (2016). Begutachtungswesen - Ergebnisse der DZHW Wissenschaftlerbefragung 2016. Vortrag vor dem Forschungsausschuss des Wissenschaftsrates, Köln.

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Individual projects

Wissenschaftlerbefragung 2016.

Neufeld, J., Johann, D. (2018).
Wissenschaftlerbefragung 2016. Methoden- und Datenbericht. (Version 1.0.0). Hannover: fdz.DZHW.

Lead Researcher

Jens Ambrasat
Dr. Jens Ambrasat Lead Researcher +49 30 2064177-16


Christophe Heger

Press contact

Daniel Matthes
Daniel Matthes +49 511 450670-532
To press section

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