Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Chase Continues

I must apologize for not writing more, but there is so much happening and then my day job picked up (semester start). I'll see if I can summarize what is up here.
  • In the zu Guttenberg case, the GuttenPlagWiki has found 94% of the pages or 63% of the lines to be plagiarisms. The group there is continuing producing a final report on the findings. The thesis turns out to have quite some value scientifically as an example text on plagiarism. There is pretty much an example of every kind of plagiarism to be found. The University of Bayreuth appears to be close to deciding whether he plagiarized on purpose or not. The press then reported that zu Guttenberg's lawyers had insisted the university not publish the report. Merkel was not amused, the press ran with it for a day or so, now he is okay with them making the results public. There are over 100 legal complaints that have been filed, but there were none from people who were the authors of the sources. The press alleges that now someone has, I'm sure they've been pressured by the press to do so.
  • The next public target is Veronica Saß. She is the daughter of a prominent CSU politician. Her dissertation in jurisprudence is currently at 44% of the pages containing plagiarism. There is a fascinating block between pages 291 and 297 that is a complete copy of one source and then pages 298 - 315 is from another source. When this was made public, quite a public outcry started - against the chasers. This poor girl, she's not in the public limelight, leave her alone, etc. People keep pointing out that by publishing a dissertation and slapping your name on it, you are stating that it is your work. The University of Konstanz is feverishly looking at this.
  • Next up is Matthias Pröfrock, a CDU politician. His dissertation in jurisprudence (is there a pattern here?) was submitted to the University of Tübingen in 2007. His current plagiarism level is at plagiarisms on 46% of the pages. He published a statement that his thesis may have occasional problematic passages when the level was already at 25%. The University is investigating. I've heard the rumor that another politician plagiarized him, but that is still under investigation. Sort of a chained plagiarism.
  • The current target is another politician, Silvana Koch-Mehrin. She is from the FDP party and currently sitting in the European Parliament, where she is one of 14 vice presidents. Her dissertation is on business history and was submitted in 2001 to the University of Heidelberg. This one is lots of work, as it is only available in print and the sources are also only available in print. Many of the fragments are just a sentence, but there are enough that include a complete paragraph, for example page 54. The level is only 20%, but the work continues.
The blogosphere and the press are running wild with bits about "presumption of innocence" and such nonsense. This is not a court of law, it's about science, and honesty in science. Give your sources, don't steal.

I wrote a little piece about Robert K. Merton's organized skepticism for the wiki, as many of the people working on this are not aware that there is such a thing as the theory of science.

The people doing the work - many anonymous - do not call themselves hunters. The German press calls them (and me) Plagiatsjäger. We are just accepting it, not protesting the title, and continuing the search.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Debora, is your thesis "Contributions to Mechanical Proofs of Correctness for Compiler Front-Ends" online ? Links on your blog ?