Root of problem

March 28, 1997

Some senior academic university staff are adopting the title of doctor when not in possession of a doctorate.

The General Dental Council recently reversed a rule which previously prevented dentists from using the title of doctor unless a registrable doctorate was held. This means that ordinary dentists can use the title as a courtesy, although many of the general population might find this surprising.

There are examples of dentally qualified senior academic staff using the title of doctor, in journals or on college headed notepaper for instance, without a doctorate being listed among other qualifications. Such action seems to be calculated to mislead as to the true academic status of the individuals concerned.

This disreputable conduct must be stopped without delay or these people will think that they are equal to those who have earned the title. There is a danger of acceptance in default of protest by the academic community.

Otherwise, doctorates obtained in the usual way will be devalued.

Allan H. Cook Cheyne Walk, Grange Park London N21

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