Anti-Mobbing Help for Scientists

Say NO to Academic Mobbing &
Cancel Culture, 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.

Two-page brief introduction to Academic Mobbing by the expert Prof. Dr. Kenneth Westhues in Academic Matters:
The Unkindly Art of Mobbing (read pdf pages 15-16)

Online meeting video of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS):
Academic Mobbing: The Whys and (The) Wherefores

Recent intriguing articles on Academic Mobbing by the expert Prof. Dr. Sherry Moss in Nature:
How to blow the whistle on an academic bully
Tie institutions’ reputations to their anti-bullying record
Research is set up for bullies to thrive

One-page Mobbing Survival Guide by the expert Prof. Dr. Morteza Mahmoudi in Nature Human Behaviour:
A survivor’s guide to academic bullying (Author Interview in Science) (Author's Own Initiative) (MSU Website Toward a Respectful Workplace)
And another of his anti-mobbing articles in The Lancet:
The need for a global committee on academic behaviour ethics

Great article on Academic Mobbing by the expert Prof. Dr. Eve Seguin in University Affairs:
Academic mobbing, or how to become campus tormentors

Two Academic Mobbing articles by the expert Prof. Dr. Rotraud A. Perner in the Austrian Standard:
Mobbing ist Ressourcenvernichtung an Universitäten [EN]
Psychische Gesundheit als Fürsorgepflicht des Arbeitgebers Universität [EN]

Another introduction to Academic Mobbing (particularly, of medical doctors) by two German law experts as follows:
Rechtsfragen: Bossing, Bullying, Mobbing und Scientific Mobbing von Ärzten und durch Ärzte

Recent scientific articles on the dismissal of German 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“
Zur Rechtsstaatlichkeit universitätsinterner Verfahren bei Entlassung oder öffentlicher Degradierung von Professor*innen

Recent International Initiatives and Networks of Mobbed Academics (please report more):
Netzwerk entlassener ProfessorInnen (NEP)
[Network of Dismissed Professors]
Netzwerk gegen Machtmissbrauch in der Wissenschaft (mw)
[Network against Abuse of Power in Science]
NEP @ Why (female) professors should think twice before applying in German-speaking academia
A New Perspective Project: Raising awareness of mobbing faced by women academics
Academic Parity Movement: The same human rights that apply outside the lab, apply inside of it

Survey Results reported in Fingerprint for Succcess about Workplace Bullying Statistics 2021:
A guide to workplace bullying in 2021 (with statistics)

Survey Results reported in Nature about Power Abuse in Academia by the Max Planck Society from 9,000 people:
Germany’s prestigious Max Planck Society conducts huge bullying survey

Survey Results reported in Science about Abusive Supervision in Academic Science from 1,904 participants:
Academic bullying is too often ignored. Here are some targets’ stories
And the survey itself is published in SSRN:
STEM the Bullying: an empirical investigation of abusive supervision in academic science

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

N2 Survey Results about Power Abuse in Academia 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:
Manifestations of power abuse in academia and how to prevent them

Survey Results published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about mistreatment, burnout, and suicidal thoughts from 7,409 general surgery residents:
Discrimination, Abuse, Harassment, and Burnout in Surgical Residency Training

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