I just came across the September issue of research*eu in one of your Brussels offices and was struck by the views of Stéphane, a young French researcher, on page 43. He describes the distortions in the system for allocating postdoctorate degrees in France, ostensibly based on objective selection, but in fact based on what is effectively a form of corruption (ironically, in the same issue there is a report on research into forms of corruption in different political systems). Everyone knows that the French system is corrupt but nobody dares to say so, or to do anything about it, knowing that this could jeopardise any chance of benefiting from it. A European Union publication was the last place I expected to find such an opinion expressed so openly (even though it is presented as a personal opinion). My congratulations to your magazine, which is doing its bit to counter the hyper-diplomatic attitude generally associated with the European administration.

It would be highly desirable and useful for a Europe-wide group of researchers in social or other sciences to conduct a comparative study of corruption, transparency and opportunities in the different scientific systems of European Union countries. If you were able to do that, we could be genuinely proud to count our-selves Europeans.

Rainer Mauersberger, mauers@iram.es