Saturday, August 22, 2009

German Professors sold Doctorates

The Cologne district attorney's office has completed its investigation after having confiscated papers found while searching the offices of the Insitute für Wissenschaftsberatung in Bergisch-Gladbach. They had been in business for over 20 years. The University of Hanover took back nine doctorates in March 2009, when they discovered that the professors "mentoring" the theses had taken bribes to do so.

Now Focus, Neue Westfälische Zeitung, Spiegel Online, and Tagesschau report that over 100 other doctorates have been found to have been granted on the basis of bribes. District Attorney Günther Feld has confirmed the press reports that professors from the Universities of Bayreuth, Berlin (Free University), Bielefeld, Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, Hagen, Hamburg, Hanover, Ingolstadt, Jena, Leipzig, Rostock, and Tübingen are involved. Many different fields are represented, among them law, medicine, sociology, business administration, engineering, and veterinary science.

The customers paid the institute between 4000 and 20 000 Euros for finding an "appropriate" mentor and topic. The professors received between 2000 and 5000 Euros for taking on the customer. In general, however, it was not the tenured professors who were caught, but honorary professors, who have been given the status of a professor, and the right to mentor doctorates. They are required to teach a course every year to keep their titles, but are not paid. The departmental boards of each school, however, are normally involved in the granting of the doctorates. It is not clear why none of them complained or stopped any of these degrees.

The conviction of a law professor from Hannover on bribery charges is now final, he was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 75 000 Euros. He had appealed to the Federal High Court of Justice, but they refused to hear the case.

Spiegel Online also has an interview with the Munich professor for business, Manuel René Theisen, who has been fighting against companies such as the Bergisch-Gladback institute for over 25 years.

See the update on this case!

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    nun lese ich die Geschichte auch in Ihrem Blog. Ist es nicht interessant, dass sich offenbar kein einziger Journalist - und auch Sie nicht - bislang die Frage gestellt hat, wer diese Arbeiten alle geschrieben hat? Die 'schlechten' Dissertanten? Die Privatdozenten und Professoren? Dritte Personen? Wird die Qualität der Arbeiten, für die hier bezahlt wurde, auch jemals untersucht werden?


    Priv. Doz. Dr. Stefan Weber <> Publizistik & Medienforschung