Were academic promotions in biochemistry and other research disciplines improperly controlled in Poland between 2011 and 2020? A response to the recently published “Who controls the national academic promotion system” article

  • Grzegorz Węgrzyn Department of Molecular Biology, University of Gdansk, Gdańsk, Poland


In the recently published article by Koza et al. (SAGE Open, 2023, 13, doi: 10.1177/21582440231177974), the authors analyzed the academic promotion system in Poland between 2011 and 2020. They concluded that “the Polish system of academic promotions in the past decade can hardly be regarded as based on pure merit”, suggesting the impropriety, based on the participance of the members of the Central Board for Degrees and Titles in panels of experts evaluating the applications. Biochemistry was provided as a research discipline in which such an “impropriety” was the most pronounced, though other disciplines were only slightly less “improperly affected”. Although the calculations presented by Koza and others (Koza et al., 2023) were proper, their conclusions were affected by fundamental errors in assessing the roles of the panelists and misinterpretation of the data. The drawbacks of the interpretations of the facts and in drawing conclusions are presented and discussed in this paper, underlining the necessity of being very careful when assessing any phenomenon and concluding about any mechanism. Indeed, only very well substantiated conclusions, strongly supported by objective data, should be published. This rule is very well known in biochemistry and other exact and natural sciences, and should be mandatory in all other research disciplines.