DZHW Scientists Surveys – a barometer for the academic world

Start of the project: 01-Jan-2010

Trend studies, mood barometers, and opinion polls are collected in many areas of society. Long-term public opinion research can provide important information about developments and current trends in the respective field. For example, it allows better estimates and evaluations of economic and political cycles.

However, survey research rarely focuses on academia as an autonomous, but equally important societal area. While numerous surveys of individual groups active in research and teaching are conducted, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of the state and development of the German academic system. This is particularly surprising, as the academic system has profoundly changed over the past two decades. Consequently, it is of particular interest to document scholars' perceptions about these processes.

Following up on these developments, the former Institute for Research Information and Quality Assurance (iFQ) launched the Scientists Surveys in 2009. This first large-scale study in Germany provides insights into the working conditions at German universities as well as perceptions of major programmes and individual instruments of academic support, such as the German Excellence Initiatives. The study further covers opinions on the discourse on academic policies and on related subjects, such as academic misconduct, research funding, assessment procedures etc.

In early 2016, the former iFQ became an integral part of the DZHW. The second and most recent Scientist Survey in Germany has been carried out from March to May 2016 by the DZHW’s Department 2 „Research System and Science Dynamics“. For the first time, the survey also interviewed mid-level researchers at German universities in addition to professors. As a trend study, the Scientists Survey 2016 has repeatedly asked questions from the previous questionnaire. At the same time, the current questionnaire integrates new topics that focus on the recent debate on academic policies and account for the special situation of mid-level staff.

The DZHW intends to repeat the Scientist Survey regularly in the future to allow acquiring profound knowledge of the long-term developments within the German science system. As such, the DZHW’s Scientist Survey represents a continuous mood barometer of the academic world.

In the future, the Scientist Survey will be conducted in shorter intervals of three years and the interview length will be reduced to a maximum of 20 minutes. To assure that all topics will yet be covered, the Scientist Survey will be amended: Every wave will incorporate a core module (including demographics, working situations, research environment). In addition, rotating modules about specific topics (e.g. scientific integrity, funding applications) will be included alternating every six years. Moreover, up to five Minutes will be spared to integrate ad hoc questions (special modules). These will be reserved for collaborative projects, e.g. with external partners. All data will be published in the Research Data Centre of the DZHW. The data are available free of charge for not-for-profit purposes.

In the past few years, the iFQ/DZHW has also offered to conduct commissioned studies that built on the content and methodology of the 2009 iFQ Scientists Survey in Germany. Along these lines, it worth mentioning the Survey of academic staff at Austrian higher education institutions and non-university research institutes commissioned by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Survey of academic staff at the UAMR, the university alliance in the Ruhr area of Germany on behalf of the Mercator Foundation.


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.

Vorträge (Auswahl)

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. Kurztext nach Publikationsart und Zitationsstandard.

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
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