Reader (academic rank)

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The title of reader in the United Kingdom and some universities in the Commonwealth of Nations, for example Australia and New Zealand, denotes an appointment for a senior academic with a distinguished international reputation in research or scholarship. It is an academic rank above senior lecturer (or principal lecturer in the new universities), recognising a distinguished record of original research. In the British ranking, for some universities, a reader could be seen as a professor without a chair, similar to the distinction between professor extraordinarius and professor ordinarius at some European universities, professor and chaired professor in Hong Kong and "professor B" and chaired professor in Ireland. Both readers and professors in the UK would correspond to professors in the US.[1]

The promotion criteria applied to a readership in the United Kingdom are similar to those applied to a professorship: advancing from senior lecturer to reader generally requires evidence of a distinguished record of original research.[2][dead link][3][4][5][dead link][6]

An incompatibility of ranking systems between different English-speaking countries makes the position of reader difficult to place outside the context of the United Kingdom. A similar title used in some countries, for instance in Sweden, is docent, which is officially translated in English as reader. [7][dead link]

Several UK universities (e.g. the University of Leeds; the University of Oxford) have recently dispensed with the reader grade (those currently holding readerships retain the title, but no new readers will be appointed). In the few UK universities that have adopted North American academic titles (i.e. assistant professor; associate professor; full professor) readerships have become assimilated with professorships.


  1. ^ Graham Webb, Making the most of appraisal: career and professional development planning for lecturers, Routledge, 1994 (page 30) ISBN 0-7494-1256-9
  2. ^ Newcastle University
  3. ^ University of London
  4. ^ Lancaster University
  5. ^ Open University
  6. ^ University for the Creative Arts
  7. ^