News from the Senior Management Team no. 9/2016

It’s too easy to talk about mark inflation

In response to last week’s debate on mark inflation in the media, Pro-rector Berit Eika is calling for a more considered discussion. She urges people not to jump to conclusions and assume that the growing number of top marks equates to a decline in academic standards.

She highlights other possible explanations for the increase in the number of top marks which are given, for example that AU now admits cleverer students who work hard and are focused on achieving top marks. She also points to the increased focus on education and teaching quality as a possible reason. In addition, Berit Eika addresses the challenges associated with the 12-point scale as a marking system.

Impressive position in QS World University Rankings

Just before Easter, QS published its annual international ranking list, the QS World University Rankings by subject. AU’s impressive position has been picked up by several media. Specifically, AU is now in the top 100 in as many as 13 subject areas – three of them in the top 50. Odontology is the highest-ranked subject at no. 17, while AU ranks no. 34 for communication and media, and no. 40 for archaeology.

Bibliometric analyses at 19 departments

Nineteen departments at Aarhus University have entered into an agreement with the Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy (CFA) on carrying out a number of bibliometric analyses over the next three years. The analyses can, for example, focus on citation patterns, internationalisation, interdisciplinarity and the effects of cooperation between research groups within and across departments and subject areas to the extent that they are covered by the databases.

The analyses are based on the database at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at the University of Leiden, which, among other things, is also used as the basis for the annual CWTS Leiden Ranking

The new departmental analyses comprise one annual bibliometric analysis for the relevant departments and one in-depth analysis over a three-year period and are designed according to the needs and wishes of the departments in question.

All the departments at Health and Science and Technology as well as at the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus BSS are covered by the agreement on bibliometric analyses. The research conducted at most of the departments at Aarhus BSS and the schools at Arts does not feature very prominently in the Web of Science citation database and is therefore not covered by the agreement.

The departmental analyses are an offshoot of the recently completed CoRe project where, over a four-year period, CFA studied the significance of political reforms for research performance.

More focus on dental disease

In a feature article in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 26 March, Dean Allan Flyvbjerg criticises the way in which the Danish health service regards dental disease. He calls it an illogical, unfair and almost harmful prioritisation to think of oral and dental disease as being less serious than all other types of physical illness. Allan Flyvbjerg points to the fact that Denmark lags behind internationally, and criticises in particular the fact that patients are expected to pay a considerable proportion of the charges themselves, which according to him is the cause of widespread social imbalance with significant health and social implications.

Department of Forensic Medicine celebrates centenary 

Last Friday, on 1 April, the forensic pathologist in Jutland, better known as the Department of Forensic Medicine at Aarhus University, celebrated its centenary.

  • Read more (in Danish)


18 April: Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen visits the AU research centre in Foulum together with Kristian Pihl Lorenzen MP

26 April: Board meeting

28 April: Main Liaison Committee meeting

28-29 April: Minister for Higher Education and Science’s annual education summit: general education in higher education

29 April: Festival of Research

6 May: Regatta 2016


Kind regards,

The Senior Management Team


The Senior Management Team publishes a newsletter every week. This newsletter includes a brief description of current activities and discussions. You can sign up for the Danish version of the newsletter at, after which you will receive an e-mail whenever the newsletter is issued. If you would like to subscribe to the English version of News from the Senior Management Team, please go to The English version of News from the Senior Management Team is available at You can read previous editions of News from the Senior Management Team at