- Johannes Hahn, University of Vienna
The former Austrian Minister of Education and current Member of the European Parliamenthad been accused previously of having plagiarized his dissertation (a number of articles can be found at the blog Plagiatsgutachten). The University of Vienna reopened the case, hemmed and hawed, asked for expertises, and then decided that the thesis would have been unacceptable today, but they could not determine what "rules for quotations" were valid 25 years ago. Many people found this shocking, as pretty much the same rules for quotations have been in place for more than 25 years.
Reports can be found at Die Presse - Spiegel Online - Official university statement
- Bernd Althusmann, University of Potsdam
The current Minister of Education in Lower Saxony and chairman of the German national board of Ministers of Education (in Germany, education is the responsibility of the states, not the federal government) was accused of plagiarism in the newspaper Die Zeit in July. The University of Potsdam took the issue up and looked into the thesis. Everyone agrees that the thesis is pretty bad. Some even say that it should never have been accepted. But the problem is, the doctorate was granted, and the rules say that in order to rescind the doctorate, you have to prove that he knowingly cheated. Much of the plagiarism is of the sloppy kind that you normally throw in the face of a bachelor student and demand a rewrite. It appears that he was actually asked to rewrite one or two times, and then they gave up and gave him a rite on it, a grade meaning "go away and stay away from university, but you can put the letters in front of your name". The commission felt that they could not prove intention, just sloppiness, and so did not rescind his doctorate. There is a good discussion on the blog de plagio explaining the reasoning.
Now, if I apply the reasoning above or the reasoning zu Guttenberg uses, if the plagiarist is busy or does not know the rules, then it's not plagiarism. Which pretty much means that we can pack in as teachers. How can we enforce tough plagiarism policies, when education leaders get let off the hook for sloppiness?