Bad news for doctoral cheats as hunt for plagiarised theses goes viral in Germany

[Dietke Kohl, Germany News Contributor]

Spiegel Online:  It was only two weeks ago that a law professor from the University of Bremen outed Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who was Germany‘s defense minister at the time, as a plagiariser of parts of his doctoral thesis. As a result, the minister departed his job from the German government last month and lost his PhD title.

Since then,  the hunt for plagiarised works has gone viral in Germany with more than 20 plagiarism hunters working round the clock to out high profile cheats mainly in the field of politics. The group, which calls itself VroniPlag, says that it is not politically motivated:  “The goal is to guarantee the integrity of doctor titles in Germany….the work performed here is neither politically motivated nor is it aimed at personal defamation or anything like it.”” (accrording to the VroniPlag website).

VroniPlag, is made up of Ph.D. holders and a number of professors and regularly updates the media with its outings.

Commentators as saying however, that VroniPlag is targeting German politicians more or less exclusively and  that having regard to the track record of politicians who never plagiarised anything, eg., Hitler, it is puzzling that a German minister should be forced to resign for cheating on his doctoral thesis?

In particular, they say, as a pre-eminent skill for any politician is the ability to cheat and lie seamlessly, it would seem that VroniPlag is in for a busy and fruitful time in its endeavours. But whether those politicians found out should be made to resign their posts as politicians is another matter as cheating on a doctoral dissertation is certainly nothing to suggest that the cheater is not a first-class politician.


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