The German research funding organization DFG has again censured plagiarists. A press release was issued this week stating that a schriftliche Rüge (written reprimand or censure) has been issued to two professors.
They had submitted a funding proposal together that included large passages of text taken without giving the source. This was noted by the referees, who notified the DFG. They started an investigation and asked the professors for a statement. They said that they had prepared the proposal together with input from subordinate researchers, who were responsible for including the plagiarism.
The DFG makes it clear that the submitting researchers are responsible for what is in the proposal, even if they have junior researchers doing the writing. They must ensure that the text meets appropriate standards of scientific writing, especially as they want funding for research. They must meet at least basic scientific standards.
This is a very good decision, as it clearly demonstrates that professors can not publish or submit proposals under only their own names, and then point the finger to a junior researcher or student if it turns out to be a plagiarism.