The press release focuses on two aspects of the case:
- The issue of self-plagiarism. There was a good bit of text parallel with previously published works both of the author and the author with a co-author. The committee did not see any misconduct, as the co-author was named a few times in the thesis and thanked in the forward.
- The use of text verbatim without quotation marks. There are many fragments of text taken verbatim from other sources in the dissertation. The source is named in a footnote, but it is not made clear that the text is practically a textual copy, as can be seen in the current VroniPlag Wiki documentation. This is often referred to as a pawn sacrifice in the plagiarism literature. The university states that in the modern day this would be considered to be a problem, but that it is only misconduct when the author assumes intellectual property (Urheberschaft für fremde Ideen) with the intent to deceive. The problem, as always, is that a reader cannot know what the intent of the author is while reading the text.