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The title of reader in the United Kingdom and some universities in the Commonwealth of Nations, for example India, Australia and New Zealand, denotes an appointment for a senior academic with a distinguished international reputation in research or scholarship.
In the traditional hierarchy of British and other Commonwealth universities, reader (and principal lecturer in the new universities) are academic ranks above senior lecturer and below professor, recognising a distinguished record of original research. Reader is similar to 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 name" (or associate professor) and chaired professor in Ireland. Readers and professors in the UK would correspond to full professors in the United States.
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.
Several UK universities have dispensed with the reader grade, such as Oxford University, and the University of Leeds in 2012; those currently holding readerships retain the title, but no new readers will be appointed. In the few UK universities, including the University of Cambridge, that have adopted North American academic titles (i.e. lecturer is equivalent to assistant professor; senior lecturer equivalent to associate professor; professor equivalent to professor), readerships have become assimilated to professorships.
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