Monitoring of the open competitions

Independent initiatives
for students
and PhD candidates

Open and fair competitions for academic teachers - a rule or an exception?

The way, in which public universities conduct competitions for a position of academic teachers causes heated discussion in Poland.

 These competitions are oficially called „open”, which suggests that organisers want to reach the greatest number of people interested in the recruitment process and then choose the best candidate from them, using fair and transparent procedure.  Unfortunately, it is not always like that. These competitions are often fictitious – they are similar to theatre plays, where all of the roles are assigned in advance, and the names of the winners are known right from the beginning.

The watchdog.edu.pl team conducted nationwide monitoring of recruitment procedures.

The team examined the competitions which had been organised over the last 3 years in 55 different academic units at public universities. For the needs of the study, experts collected the documentation of 492 competition procedures. Experts analysed the announcements of competitions, the proceedings of the Competition Commision, court judgements, source literature, decisions of the Competition Comission and appeals from the Comission's decisions, statistical data, press reports. The experts also interviewed people who have Deeply rooted stances on systemic solution's flaws.

In six cases, the court proceeding has been initiated because of blocking access to public information, which is essential for this monitoring. 

Experts prepared a total of 615 comments to received documentation. They prepared 49 sets of recommendation  – for the university as a whole, and also for the particular units operating in the university structure.

The aim of the authors of this monitoring is to cause a discussion about the competitions at universities and also to find possibly the quickest way to stop the proceure of fixed competitions.

A summary of the study results was published in the ''Watchdog #5'' report.

The report contains:

  • the analisys of the criteria used in competitions for academic teachers
  • the comparison of the standards applied in the EU and the character of competitions organised at Polish public universities
  • the comparison of the recruitment procedure of researchers and academic workers in some European countries and in the USA
  •  the summary of an extensive review of documents obtained by means of the procedure of free access to public information
  • the interviews with researchers, who protest against ''fictitious'' competitions. They were asked about the reasons of extremely low mobility among Polish researchers and its influence on the way of appointing to positions at universities