Doctoral position at Leipzig

Doctoral researcher (m/f/d) on the project “Contextual scientometrics – Uncovering and understanding referencing patterns to the ancient canon in modern scholarly discourses” (MECANO – MSCA Doctoral Network)

The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Institute of Computer Science seeks to fill the above position from 1 September 2024. This PhD position is part of the project MECANO (Mechanics of Canon Formation and the Transmission of Knowledge from Graeco-Roman Antiquity) that has received funding from Horizon Europe Program for Research and Innovation under the MSCA Doctoral Networks 2022, Grant Agreement No. 101120349.

This is a full-time PhD position with the expected start in September 2024. This PhD position will be based at Leipzig University under the main supervision of Prof. Manuel Burghardt (Computational Humanities, Institute of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science). The PhD candidate is expected to visit Leuven, Belgium for a research stay of 6 months to be co-supervised by Prof. Mark Depauw (KU Leuven, Faculty of Arts, Ancient History) and Prof. Bart Thijs (KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics), and to do an internship of 3 months at German National Library in Leipzig, Germany.

The PhD project revolves around the notion that in modern academia, famous authors, thinkers and philosophers from the ancient world continue to shape scholarly discourses. However, precisely which canonical references we find in specific disciplines, and how often they are referred to, is yet to be investigated. The specific objectives of this PhD project are therefore to build a large, multi-disciplinary corpus of scientific journals from JSTOR, reuse existing computational workflows from the Trismegistos project (TM) and detect ancient canonic references in this corpus. The main analytical objective will be to analyse the extracted references in a scientometric way, allowing us to investigate which of the canonic thinkers are quoted the most in different disciplines and whether there are any diachronic trends to be found. Furthermore, we are interested in co-citation networks, which will help us to understand which canonic authors are frequently mentioned together and may be even forming canonic clusters. In addition to these more traditional scientometric approaches, a core methodological objective is to add a distant reading perspective to the analyses, which allows us to put the canonical references in context and better understand their usage, shedding light on the influence of the ancient canons on the modern academic.

Application Deadline: 8 Mar 2024 - 23:59 (Europe/Berlin)

About the position

  • Fixed term of 36 months
  • 100% of a full-time position
  • Planned remuneration: gross amount of approx. 3,200 Euro (3,750 Euro if eligible for family allowance)

What we offer

  • A highly dynamic, collaborative and interdisciplinary working environment in a modern workplace.
  • Flexible working hours and work-life balance.
  • English as working language.
  • Leipzig as an attractive city with rich culture and beautiful surroundings, where international visitors usually find it easy to settle in.


  • Master’s degree in Digital Humanities, Data Science, Computational Linguistics, Computer Science, Information Science or any other relevant field of expertise, held by time of appointment, with an MA thesis of high quality (if the degree is not yet obtained at the time of application, a statement by the applicant’s supervisor should confirm that it will be obtained by time of appointment);
  • Well-developed research skills, including the ability to formulate relevant research questions and hypotheses as well as descriptive, analytical and computational skills;
  • Excellent competence in the application of state-of-the-art methods from the field of text mining / natural language processing (large language models, word embeddings, etc.) and ideally experience in the areas of scientometrics, digital philology or digital classics
  • Good competence in spoken and written English
  • Independent thinker, team player
  • Mobility rule (as part of the MECANO programme): the candidate has not resided in Germany for more than 12 months in the 36 months preceding appointment

Details at: