Friday, May 25, 2012

Veronica Saß loses court case

The daughter of a Bavarian politician, Veronica Saß, remains with the doctorate that the University of Constance rescinded in May 2011 after it was determined that over a third of her thesis was plagiarized - pages and pages, including the footnotes. Saß went to court to fight the university over the question, and the court ruled today - after delivering a stern lecture during the court date yesterday - that the university was within its rights in rescinding the doctorate.

Saß tried a novel form of defense - she admitted that she plagiarized, but said that the university was negligent in advising her as an external student on the fine points of scientific writing. As a friend has noted - maybe we need public service announcement daily on the radio on how to quote someone elses work. Where does it start, where does it end, where does it come from. That's all.

There are a number of reports in German (taz - dapd - Spiegel Online - Südkurier - press statement of the university) and the radio station WDR had a special day with lots of reports in German about plagiarism.

It is a relief that at least the courts in Germany are upholding good scientific practice, even if the universities seem to be having trouble inculcating that in their students and professors.

There is one title Ms. Saß still holds, as the taz wryly remarks - it is her nickname, Vroni, that gave the plagiarism documentation group, VroniPlag Wiki, its name.

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