Friday, May 13, 2011

The Hunt

My goodness. The press has grown bored with all these plagiarisms by politicians. One of the Axel-Springer press organs, Hamburger Abendblatt, decided to go after the messengers this morning.

I had given an interview to a journalist yesterday, and today I find an article that puts lots of words in my mouth that I did not say. The article also uses the word "hunt" or "hunting" or "hunters" eight  (8) times in just one article. The picture looks terrible, me pressed in between the other two. And since that was not enough, they started a "debate" entitled "Die Besserwisser sind so schlimm wie die Betrüger" (The know-it-alls are just as bad as the cheaters).

Now does anyone wonder why most of the activists over at GuttenPlag and VroniPlag use pseudonyms? I really don't get that it is okay for a cheater to be a minister, but that it is bad to point out that an "old" thesis is a plagiarism. May I deduce that the general public does not get it? My email is overflowing with letters like this denouncing me:
"Sie haben den Splitter in den Augen der Anderen gesucht und
gefunden und meinen nun das Recht zu haben, diese Menschen komplett
moralisch abqualifizieren zu können, ich wünsche Ihnen, dass man nicht
irgend wann einmal einen Balken in Ihrem Auge findet. Ach, erlauben Sie
mir eine Frage: Was haben Sie eigentlich in Ihrem 54jährigen Leben
bisher an qualitativ Hochwertigem für die Menschheit geleistet? Sie
haben viel kostbare Zeit für Ihre Hetzjagd vergeudet, stimmt's? Oder
haben Sie vielleicht nichts Besseres
zu tun?" (You have looked for and found the splinter in the eyes of the others and believe that you now have the right to morally disqualify them completely. I hope that someone does not find a log in your eye. Permit me to inquire what high-quality work you have done for you have done for mankind in the 54 years you have lived? You have wasted much valuable time on your chasing, haven't you? Or don't you have anything better to do?)
Madam, I managed a civil answer for you and then deleted your missive, moving on to more important work for mankind.


  1. I disagree with Abendblatt. The know-it-alls are worse than the cheaters.

    Certainly, I find the betrayal by Guttenberg et al. disgusting. Much more disgusting is this witch hunt. It is like looking through the dirty laundry and the rubbish of your neighbors with the goal to find some incriminating stuff.

    But such is human nature. They look for a glorious leader, and if they finally found a victim to serve on this job, they cry Hosianna. However, if their expectations are not met completely, they kill him, claim his resurrection and make a religious cult out of it.

    With the plagiarism of PhD theses of politicians we have reached this religious cult phase. Looks like everyone gets his or her small orgasm when having found yet another word not cited properly. This *is* *disgusting*

  2. It is not a question of a word here or there. It is paragraphs. Pages. Look at the picture of some of these. There is so much plagiarism, we have to ask: Why did they think this was research? Why did the advisors not see this? How many more theses are not really contributing to science, but just rehashing old stuff?

  3. To keep discussion on: I would like to express my deep felt thanks to the staff of guttenplag and vroniplag. As I myself made the experience that my former "Doktorvater" tried to claim authorship of my very own work, I feel free to add a point, that's not in the focus of the ongoing debate about plagiarism: The structure of German universities is somewhat like a feudal system, that gives way to exploitation of subordinates. So in order to change the incentive-system that administers academical fraud on a higher level, it would be necessary to change the whole structure. This is not meant as an excuse for plagiarism on lower academic levels. But as I learned yesterday my former "Doktorvater" has signed an open letter supporting good academic behavior. To me that was a real blow, because since the debate started, I really saw an opportunity for a substantial change in the academic system. But if this demand for a change gets administered by people who act just the same it is corrupted. Empirically my former "Doktorvater" is the one white raven, that proves my hope for a general change wrong. So keep your good work up, because it's not just politics but it's also the universities that do badly need a clean up.

  4. Wow, you actually get people who defend plagiarists commenting here! I am gobsmacked.