Strong punishment for misuse of the title ‘Professor’

The Ministry of Education and Research is proposing new legislation to punish unauthorised use of the title of professor. In a letter outlining proposed new regulations, the ministry said that those falsely using the protected title of professor, or using this title in part, will be punished by fines of up to NOK188,000 (US$22,700).

“On this basis we ask the institutions to find ways to stop the unauthorised use of the title professor,” the ministry said.

"The ministry is of the opinion that the fine has to be of such size that it will have a preventive effect for the largest institutions, and the size of the fine will be decided in each case," the ministry proposes.

Higher education institutions and research institutes have until 15 September 2017 to comment on the law proposal.

Last year, on 26 June, the Ministry of Education and Research wrote a letter to higher education institutions, reminding them that the usage of the title professor is protected, referring to the university law.

In that letter the ministry said that anyone having had a protected title for 10 years or who is being pensioned after a shorter time period has the right to use the title, according to the formulation in the law.

"There are two ways to become a professor," the letter stated, "either by getting a position as a professor at a higher learning institution or to advance to professor from the position as a senior lecturer.

"The minimum criteria for being employed as a professor are specified in the regulations for getting tenure or advancing to a higher position," the letter said.

The ministry said it had noticed that staff members at universities, university colleges and in the institute sector have been using the title of research professor as a position they have even if they are not employed as professors.

“Employees of research institutions cannot use the title of professor when they are not entitled to this according to the law," the ministry said.