Friday, May 13, 2011

The saga continues

There were a lot of newsworthy happenings around the current plagiarism debate in Germany that I want to link for my English-language readers:
  • First off, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article about the goings-on today, interviewing yours truely.
  • The University of Bayreuth released its final report on zu Guttenberg's thesis. It is an extremely thorough and well-researched document, in that they have also contributed references to German court cases involving plagiarism. The appendix includes the documents that reasoned why he was given top grades for the thesis. The report comes to the conclusion that he did, indeed, plagiarize on purpose:
  • "Die Kommission vermag nicht nachzuvollziehen, dass jemand, der über Jahre Quellen für seine Dissertation bearbeitet, derart in einen Zustand der Dauervergesslichkeit gerät, dass ihm die allerorten in seiner Arbeit nachweisbaren Falschangaben vollständig aus dem Bewusstsein geraten."(The commission is not able to fathom that someone who has spent years collecting source material for his dissertation fell into a state of continuous forgetting that the demonstrable misrepresentations found throughout the thesis could be so completely removed from his awareness)

  • Veronika Saß has had her doctoral title rescinded by the university in Konstanz. Her nickname, Vroni, is the name given for the plagiarism wiki platform that has analyzed the plagiarism in both her thesis and in Koch-Mehrin's. VroniPlag found plagiarism on over 50% of the pages.
  • Sylvana Koch-Mehrin was asked by the University of Heidelberg to explain the plagiarisms and made-up footnotes in her thesis. Shortly thereafter she stepped down as vice president of the European parliament and from her offices within her party, the FDP. She has announced, however, that she intends to retain her mandate as a member of parliament. VroniPlag found plagarism on over 32% of the pages.
  • Matthias Pröfrock,  a state politician in Baden-Württemberg, has decided to stop using his doctorate while his university investigates. VroniPlag found plagiarism on almost 50% of the pages.
I will try and keep you posted on the developments.

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