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Rector of the University of Aarhus, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, reaches final settlement of the Helmuth Nyborg case

The rector of the University of Aarhus, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, has conclusively settled the Helmuth Nyborg case. The decision is based on the report by the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Svend Hylleberg, and the recent acquittal of Helmuth Nyborg of scientific misconduct by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty. The University of Aarhus considers the committees’ finding to be the final settlement of this case.

The Committees’s finding, however, exclusively concerns the question of misconduct, as pointed out by the Committees, and consequently does not give rise to any changes regarding the charge that the quality of the so-called Skanderborg study on sex differences in intelligence is unacceptable for a professor at the University of Aarhus.

Pursuant to S. 17(4) of Act No. 403 of 28 May 2003, the Danish Act on Universities, the university is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the quality of research output. Consequently, the university would be failing to honour this obligation if it did not respond accordingly.

Based on an exhaustive analysis, the University of Aarhus has exclusively considered the quality of the research method used by Helmuth Nyborg and found its design, monitoring, reporting, etc. to be highly inadequate and unacceptable.

It should be noted that this does not mean that the university in any way distances itself from controversial results of research. On the contrary, the research results that depart from prevailing opinion are often those that best further scientific knowledge.

The University of Aarhus regards it as being clearly documented that the quality of Helmuth Nyborg’s Skanderborg Study is unacceptable. However, since the Committees on Scientific Dishonesty have decided that there is no question of professional misconduct, the disciplinary action against now-retired professor Helmuth Nyborg has been changed from a “severe reprimand” to a “warning”.

Press reports have suggested that now-retired professor Helmuth Nyborg has been denied the use of the title of Professor Emeritus as a result of this case. It should therefore be made clear that any retired professor who wishes to do so can make use of this title, and this case has no bearing on that fact.

Link to Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen’s letter of 9 July 2007 (pdf)

Link to Dean Svend Hylleberg’s letter of 6 July 2007 (pdf)

Link to earlier decisions and recommendations in the case

Further information

Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, tel +45 2338 2126

Dean Svend Hylleberg (on questions of research quality), tel +45 2448 1551

Communications advisor Claus Jacobsen, tel +45 4029 9072

9 July 2007

Ingeborg Christensen
Communication Office  

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Revised 2015.04.22

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