She was sure that she hadn't plagiarized, and was angry that this was being asked of her. I suggested that if the University of X wanted to have their dissertations checked, they should invest in a software, even though I keep trying to explain to people that software cannot prove the absence of plagiarism, it can only give hints as to what parts might be plagiarized from where, among a lot of false positives.
Yes, she thought it was crazy, she had read my tests on the software but could not convince her advisor - who was retired and thus without funding to purchase a test system - to abandon his need for a certificate of some sort. I suggested that she open up a word processor and design herself a beautiful certificate - that would be just as meaningful as running her paper through software. She also didn't want to send it to a company, as she didn't want her thesis stored online. She wanted software that would run locally in her machine.
I explained that there are very few such systems, they don't find much, and most break down for largish files, not to mention dissertations. I suggested that she try and educate the University of X that they were demanding nonsense of her. She didn't want to do that, she's finished, just wants to hand in. Can't I please help her?
I'm sorry, but I am not the Plagiarism Clinic, although some days I really feel like it when I get lots of calls and emails and even theses sent to me. I have been trying to scrape up funding for such an entity since 2003, my first application. The federal government says: this is the job of the states. The states say: this is the job of the universities. The universities say: we don't have any money, this is a federal problem. And around and around and around it goes. Just got a new rejection in today. No one wants to fund plagiarism education or plagiarism advice or plagiarism detection, it seems.
One would think the the pressure would be on by now in Germany for action to be taken. Instead, this seems to be the official German policy on plagiarism:
|I Can't See You! Flickr CC-BY-SA, tropical.pete, 2008|