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Guttenberg accused of using parliamentary researcher for thesis

The Local · 19 Feb 2011, 12:41

Published: 19 Feb 2011 12:41 GMT+01:00

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Guttenberg last week said he would no longer use his doctorate title until an investigation is completed into accusations that he plagiarized parts of his doctoral dissertation. He apologised for not properly citing parts of the dissertation but denied having deliberately copied others. His alma mater, Bayreuth University, has demanded he officially respond to the allegations.

New allegations surfaced on Saturday when the news magazine Der Spiegel reported that in 2004 Guttenberg, then an MP, instructed an employee of the parliament's research department, Ulrich Tammler, to write an essay. It was entitled “The question of a reference to God in the US Constitution and the legal ruling of the Supreme Court on the separation of church and state.”

Tammler, who has two doctorates of his own, delivered the paper as requested to Guttenberg and heard nothing more about it.

MPs are only allowed to use the work of parliamentary researchers for work related to their mandate.

While Guttenberg modified a few words in the essay, he inserted it largely unchanged into his dissertation, the magazine said. Tammler was not named anywhere in the dissertation, nor listed as a source.

Guttenberg did include a general mention the work of the research service in a footnote which says, “Also compares a paper from May 13, 2004 developed by the research service of the German parliament on commission of the author.”

Story continues below…

Der Spiegel quoted the research service’s guidelines which say that all rights to work conducted by its researchers remain with the parliament. Permission must be granted for the publication of any work, the guidelines say.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:34 February 19, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
it may be that Guttenberg is now just another sleazebag politician involved in just another scandal. Maybe nobody should really be surprised.

In Guttenberg's case, however, here we have somebody who has tried to build his entire public persona on honesty, credibility, virtue, and morals. It is more than ironic that he, of all people, now has to answer for betraying these very ideals that he has invoked time and again. And that is the true hypocrisy in all this. Yes, his misconduct was not in connection with his office of defense minister. But that should be of little comfort, because what's at stake here is not his credibility as head of the Bundeswehr, but as a person. Which may in the end turn out to be much worse.
14:05 February 19, 2011 by Portnoy
If this is true, that's it for him, I think.
14:31 February 19, 2011 by iseedaftpeople

I am not sure... notice how the non-stick teflon Guttenberg is suddenly clinging to his seat like super glue... politicians today are way too "machtbesessen" to just resign, no matter how much of a liability they are becoming to others and themselves.

Guttenberg will pass off his reluctance to resign as "Standfestigkeit", not as cowardice and not being able to be a man and take responsibility. And the populace will lap it up, aided in no small part by the fawning BILD tabloid.
15:21 February 19, 2011 by hanskarl
some good points.

As I recall he wrote his thesis over a period of seven years. Most doctoral thesis are quite long and normally very complex. Working and raising a family and doing this over such a long period one needs to wonder if his plate was too full and he came to his deadline and was somewhat gob smacked. Then he had to put it all together with little time to get the work submitted and didn't thoroughly review the document as he would have if he had the time. These are just thoughts giving some benefit of the doubt.

At least he seems to be coming clean by removing the title and admitting some responsibility. Seems to me the rival parties are out on a fox hunt.
16:50 February 19, 2011 by DrStrangelove
".. didn't thoroughly review the document as he would have if he had the time."

That's absurd. What would such a thorough "review" have accomplished? Rephrasing and obscuring some more of the pasted material? That wouldn't make it any better.

I have supervised and read quite a few PhD and Master's theses myself. I have never come across a case of plagiarism remotely as blatant as this one - and this guy had the advantage of writing in his mother tongue; many of my students had to struggle with a foreign one.

Guttenberg has never shown any substantial ability or expertise, in anything. He is frightening example of how far showmanship and media hype can propel you; of how easy it still is, or again, for charlatans to rise to power in our "enlightened" society.
16:54 February 19, 2011 by CaSimone
This is a case occurring over and over all over the world in all sorts of situations. From work places, to school to all over.

People taking the work of others as their own. Makes me so annoyed when I see arrogant schmo claiming credit that is NOT theirs.

Some people would be jaw dropping-ly surprised, how much is written, presented and showcased as if it is the words of one, when it is not.

For example speech writers, I cannot stand hearing half the speeches that occur, people standing up somewhere, uttering words that did not come from their head, but from someone elses. ?? Where is that person? Why not the one with thoughts step up please??

I get someone editing words or thoughts into something smooth and publicly presentable, perhaps that was how re-writes were justified and alas the ongoing trend was thus birthed from this into reading or presenting something completely not ones own.

Thoughtless heads in thoughtful places, do not match.

There is no excuse, if you cannot handle what is called for due to life circumstances, then it is not your calling.
17:34 February 19, 2011 by Talonx
If this man can't be trusted to review his own work, why should he be trusted to make life or death decisions concerning others.
17:40 February 19, 2011 by Nina Williams
I wonder who Guttenberg pissed off for all of this to be coming out now? Ah well, as they say in the Caribbean, the higher monkey climb tree, the more you see his ass...
17:50 February 19, 2011 by Kayak
I agree with Portnoy. This last revelation should sink him.

We all learnt to record our sources, as we did research, as undergraduates. There can be no excuse for the amount of oversight that appears to be the situation in this case.

Let's have the formal investigation, make it transparent, and make it without undue delay.

The cynic in me wonders if there is far more being un-said by other "responsible" citizens.
19:59 February 19, 2011 by CaSimone
Some of you don't seem to get it, and this clearly shows how inadequate the current educational system is to create true thinkers. He should have been his own primary source.

Review?? Give me a break. There is something to be said with taking a tid-bit from a source and then diving into it and cultivating a new angle and perspective. Building upon it with at least a morsel of forward thinking. A bunch of you sound no better. Source claimed or not, thing is pitiful people rise, on the backs of solid thinkers and THEY DON'T EVEN REALIZE IT> and the Thoughtless have no wit to even realize their errors.

The thing that it is common practice, just makes it pitifully worse.
09:23 February 20, 2011 by tallady
CaSimone,,I would not be so bold as to say pitiful people do not realize they are using others to gain position,,(I assume you mean "The Guttenberg's" ) I think most do.....in many scenarios especially with those born with silver spoons in their mouths like "The Guttenberg's" , always have been afforded the easy road and they expect it. Using others to gain position or favor is their way,,as they see it it is their God given right,...nothing new here.
09:42 February 20, 2011 by catjones
Bub-bye Karl. Glad you didn't study to become a surgeon or airline pilot.
11:25 February 20, 2011 by stux
I highly doubt he is the only one. Everyone knew Ted Kennedy did the same. How many politicians in the U.S. and in Europe should have their titles taken away. I bet if you look at all the Ivy League level graduates in the West you would find over 50% have done something similar. Not excluding every other college would probably have about the same percentage of plagiarism, just not the help of staff.
15:49 February 20, 2011 by Kayak
@stux; what's your point? That is ok for the ex-doctor to lie and cheat his fellow countrymen and women because others do it?

Isn't that the fear here; that he being caught out raises the question of others acting in similar dishonest ways. Isn't THAT the point of concern?

If your a man then I wonder if you know of any man who has ever cheated on his wife? Have you ever explained your insight to your wife or girlfriend? "They do it honey so it's ok for me to do it!"
17:48 February 20, 2011 by catjones
@stux....the discussion is about plagiarism, not unsubstantiated claims. As usual, you don't know what you're talking about.
03:21 February 21, 2011 by Larry Thrash
I don't know Mr. Guttenberg but he must be a conservative because the press doesn't "demonize" liberals and leftist.
22:22 February 21, 2011 by Talonx
@ Larry Thrash

Are you an Ami? I only ask, because I wonder if you aren't perhaps mistaken in your understanding of this man's political categorization. He's still to the left of any party in America.
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