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German Education Minister Annette Schavan Loses Doctorate Due to Plagiarism

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posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 06:31 PM

A German university has voted to strip Education Minister Annette Schavan of her doctorate after an investigation into plagiarism allegations.

But the faculty committee concluded that her work, which dealt with the formation of conscience, included a "substantial number of unaccredited direct quotes from other texts".

In a statement declaring the doctorate invalid and withdrawing it from Ms Schavan, the faculty head Bruno Bleckmann said they had "decided by secret ballot, by 12 votes to two, with one abstention".

Although her lawyers are going to appeal I find it rather disconcerting that an Education Minister could be in hot water for plagiarism.

On her Wiki page it says:

In 2012, an anonymous blogger documented plagiarism in Schavan's PhD thesis,[1] entitled "Character and conscience — Studies on the conditions, necessities, and demands on the development of conscience in the present day.".[2] The University of Dusseldorf conducted an investigation into the plagiarism charge. Investigators have found paraphrasing of secondary literature without naming the source in over 60 cases in the dissertation and therefore revoked her doctorate degree. She was found guilty of “systematic and premeditated” deception.
See sources for the wiki on that page as well as a link to all the non credited quotes and the original "outing" blog.

Now I can understand someone just typing and the random sentence matches but over 60 direct quotes? It makes me wonder if she will be allowed to maintain her position as Federal Education Minister.

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 07:13 PM
She should lose her job.

Plagiarism on a doctoral level? Not cool.

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 07:19 PM
reply to post by smyleegrl

A lot of European colleges and Universities are currently asking post-graduate alumni for their permission to digitize their printed theses.

I bet there are a lot of worried people

There are so many plagiarism software tools available today - it could be the tip of a very embarrassing iceberg.

posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 08:10 PM
reply to post by Agarta

I think the real question here is who is the anonymous blogger that dug up a 32 year old thesis and found out that it was plagiarized? And why? What is the purpose behind outing something someone did in 1980?

Another thing:

She insisted she had never "knowingly falsely cited any sources" and promised to respond to the accusations. But the faculty committee concluded that her work, which dealt with the formation of conscience, included a "substantial number of unaccredited direct quotes from other texts".

She considers plagiarism to be falsely citing sources while the board considers plagiarism to be not citing sources at all. Plagiarism is the theft of words. It's pretty cut and dry. According to what I read, roughly half of what she "wrote" in her thesis, which was 135 PAGES LONG, were quotes from outside sources. So what the board is saying is that if she were to have simply cited her sources, that would be OK?

Hell, if that's the case I want to apply for HER job. I'm MORE then qualified by their standards.


See? C'mon Dusseldorf, I need a job. I can copy and paste like a pro.

Bottom line: They're both in the wrong and they both need a good spanking. She has obviously done a good job in the preceding years since her thesis and the board needs to take THAT into consideration. Not HOW she began her upward career path. As UmbraSumus pointed out, if everyone who cheated in college got outed and fired, we would have very few people left in charge. Someone needs to turn the mirror to the board and see how many of THEM are on the up and up. Everyone does it and everyone just needs to grow the hell up and admit it.

edit on 5-2-2013 by Taupin Desciple because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-2-2013 by Taupin Desciple because: Grammar

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 06:27 AM
Well she is not the first in german politics who loses a doctorgrade and she will not be the last. Every litte bit that stirrs up the pot in Berlin is a good thing.
I wonder when and if someone analyses Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkels doctorate work and what the results will be...

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 06:53 AM
reply to post by Taupin Desciple

Well its kinda hard not to run into things already written about the subject your studying and with the amount of tools to find this stuff its pretty easy to give credit to former writers and researchers.

There really is no reason not to cite every little thing nowadays. Especially at the university level where you have access to some of the best libraries on the planet. When I write papers its not hard to find what you need and cite others who've written or talked on your subject.

Sounds like this person was simply lazy and got called on it. Either she ripped off her information and didn't want it known how she found it or just did not bother giving others credit. Its not hard to find out if people are doing this either.

We have checkers where you just enter in blocks of text and it checks libraries for anything that matches it. You can use these while writing the paper yourself so there is absolutely no reason to get busted for not citing your work. Every paper we write in school now is automatically entered into the system so its hard to not get caught.

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