Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Baron

Yes. I noticed. The German defense minister, Baron von und zu Guttenberg has been accused of plagiarizing in his dissertation. I spent all day on the phone, trying to explain plagiarism to journalists. I will try and get something put together in English tomorrow. For now just the picture of the hit statistic on my plagiarism portal:


  1. I think plagiarism needs to be explained not only to journalist but to (future) academics as well. Most of them have no idea what working and writing academically really is about, what is expected of them and what they are or aren't allowed to do. On top of that, they're full of fear of not doing well enough, of not being able to come up with ideas of their own that deserve to be called academic. So it seems so much easier and safer to adopt other people's ideas... and to use proper citations only sparingly. Since none of their supervisors notices, comments and helps to do better, this attitude grows firmer during the course of their studies; and instead of becoming better academics, they actually become worse. At the same time, a lot of them experience their supervisors to feel free to use students' and assistants' work (which means basically steal it). By the time they have to write any kind of final thesis, they've lost all hesitation and plagiarise widely: for this seems the way to do things. Don't get me wrong: I am far from trying to excuse any behaviour like this; I just think we should be aware of what's going on if we really want to change things.

  2. I have put together some information for those writing their theses in German, and a lot of people have found this to be of huge help so far (simply nobody had told them before):


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