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Koch-Mehrin plagiarism charges thicken

The Local · 20 Apr 2011, 08:34

Published: 20 Apr 2011 08:34 GMT+02:00

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A preliminary report released by the internet platform Vroniplag Wiki says 56 of the 201 pages of the MEP’s dissertation contained provable incidents of plagiarism.

Koch-Mehrin got her doctorate for a dissertation entitled, ‘Historic Currency Union between Economy and Politics’ at Heidelberg University. Dons there have already started an academic investigation after allegations were first made against Koch-Mehrin.

Although this investigation could take weeks, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that it could still be finished by the FDP's party convention in the middle of May.

It said that should that investigation conclude she stole a significant amount of her dissertation it would not only be a major setback for the 40-year-old’s considerable political ambitions. It would also be a body blow for her party which despite having ditched its unpopular leader Guido Westerwelle for Health Minister Philipp Rösler, still languishes below the five percent mark in many opinion polls.

The Vroniplag Wiki report said that not only did 56 of the 201 pages include plagiarism, but that the sources were, “noticeably often articles from textbooks dealing with economic theory and economic and social history.”

It said that in at least four places, her work included more than three-quarters of a page of plagiarised text.

The report concluded that sources were used to a considerable degree but were not well-enough sourced as quotes. “This presents a blatant break with academic standards,” the report said.

Perhaps even more damaging, the report said that, “The frequent changes to the plagiarised texts as well as the fact that these were to be found all through the entire dissertation, leads to the conclusion that the taking of text was not a mistake but was done knowingly.”

The site then raises the question of whether the dissertation was a misuse of tax money as it was funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, with money from the Federal Ministry for Education, Science, Research and Technology.

The former Defence Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg of the Christian Social Union was forced to resign at the start of March after his doctoral dissertation was found to have been widely plagiarised. In comparison to his, that of Koch-Mehrin was not as bad, according to a member of the Vroniplag Wiki platform involved in the investigation.

Story continues below…

“If you compare this with the Tour de France, then we could say that we have caught Koch-Mehrin doping, while Guttenberg rode off on a motorbike,” a spokesman told the Frankfurter Rundschau daily. “But you get banned for doping too,” he added.

Koch-Mehrin has not yet commented on the allegations.

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Your comments about this article

09:11 April 20, 2011 by mehta_p

- The Vroniplag Wiki report said that not only did 56 of the 201 pages include plagiarism, but that the sources were, ¦quot;noticeably often articles from textbooks dealing with economic theory and economic and social history.¦quot;

- The former Defence Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg of the Christian Social Union was forced to resign at the start of March after his doctoral dissertation was found to have been widely plagiarised. In comparison to his, that of Koch-Mehrin was NOT as bad, according to a member of the Vroniplag Wiki platform involved in the investigation.
09:34 April 20, 2011 by catjones
Smells like sweat in the parliament chamber.
10:22 April 20, 2011 by Landmine
Who's next???
10:36 April 20, 2011 by auniquecorn
AWW, give her a break, she´s a good lookin blond. Maybe she bartered her services for a few notes.
10:40 April 20, 2011 by pepsionice
I suspect that a list of all graduates in the Bundestag with a thesis is being circulated and every single one of them will be tasked for an examination by the end of 2011. It'll be a comical affair which will gain Germany great attention in the international press. You can go ahead and guess the statistical analysis....over half will fail the accountability test. Whoever devised this political strategy....probably didn't grasp the end result.

As for the act of plagiarism? It's been going on for two thousand years and isn't about to curtail itself.
10:47 April 20, 2011 by dcgi
As far as I can understand plagiarism and cheating in exams is rife in Germany at least, someone needs to sort this out if not just for the honest people who don't cheat their way to their qualifications and a better than deserved mark.
11:47 April 20, 2011 by tallady
Murder ,rape ,robbery have all been going on for a couple of thousand years also.

Call this what you like, justify it how you can but call a spade a spade,it is lying,cheating and stealing something that is not yours.

This is disingenuous and an insult to those who earned their degrees through honest and diligent work.
12:33 April 20, 2011 by trevzns
Another individual accused of cheating to gain the prestige of a title.

Plagiarism prevention 101: Do not borrow someone else¦#39;s original ideas.

I can understand the good Dr.¦#39;s motivation, The end justify the means.

As a result many more individuals will continue to lie, cheat and steal regardless of the consequences.

German society is very competitive and Dr. Silvana Kock-Mehrin like many others are raised and educated in a culture where expectations for success are set extremely high.

Failure is unacceptable and success by any means necessary is rewarded.

If the plagiarism allegations are true? Better luck in your next political post Silvana Koch-Mehrin. Honesty is still the best policy.
12:58 April 20, 2011 by twisted
She is a politician...telling less than the truth comes with the training to be a politician.
13:29 April 20, 2011 by djpeachy
Hmmm, lying, cheating and stealing... so IF she did this, unlike all the other graduates of course, this would make her ideally suited to be a.... POLITICIAN!
14:54 April 20, 2011 by DoubleDTown
"widely plagiarising" ? I've heard of "widely publicizing", but "widely plagiarising"?
15:26 April 20, 2011 by Altdude
Can anyone tell me how I can change my screen name to Doktor Altdude? Don't feel I'm getting my due respect without the title.I only have a masters, for which I cheated very little really, but I could whip up a German-standard dissertation by next week.
15:55 April 20, 2011 by trevzns
by twisted

No twisted, if the allegations are true? She is a telling less plagiarizing politician.

I fully understand and accept a politician¦#39;s responsibilities as professional liars while conducting the business of governing.

Telling the truth has to do with character. Where is the political protection telling less in this situation?

It was for self-gain and the pleasure of a prestigious title, which was not earned honestly, if the allegations are true?

I am not without faults or passing judgments. However, what examples are we setting when it¦#39;s acceptable for popular politicians and other individuals in our society to present an image of themselves as what a good citizen should be and actually be personally be dishonest?

I¦#39;m flexible and understanding and would have no problem with a title, Dr. telling less Silvana Kock-Mehrin.

by djpeachy

Cheating is part of not being prepared and dishonesty. This is about a lazy cheating unprepared POLITICIAN.
16:24 April 20, 2011 by Landmine
I think the book "Plagiarism for dummies" would sell well here in Germany...
16:32 April 20, 2011 by whpmgr
I can only say this, if you think Cheating is easy, you dont know. Think about how much time is gone through finding the right material to insert. Think about fitting text into the paragraph, and then ensuring the format and material actually fit into the flow. I must say that I think that it was a great deal o fwork, and it is too bad they just didnt spend the time to do it right instead of spending just a bit less time and plagerizing.

I too have a couple of Master's and a bachelor's and three Associate's degrees. It was so damned hard working full time, going into War Zones, and getting original material, but I did it. Man, I thought I would never finish and it took me an extra year of full time work and writing to finally finish. I almost quit, and my Committee Chair had to really earn his pay to inspire me not to quit. It can be done, but maybe they should give more time to complete the research and thesis so people won't be forced to do the cheating? Maybe there should be a complete audit of written laterian submitted in the past 20 years to verify who is guilty?

Maybe an act of the government to forgive anyone who comes forward, a fee (cheater's tax) and 100 hours of public service would make the public feel good about themselves.

I will say this one more time. I don't care if they plagerize if they do their job well, have more than a basic understanding of the topic they wrote/faked writing on, and moved forward. If they can pass some sort of knowledge test, then drop the damned Thesis requirement for anyone that really just isn't set out to do it. Your argument may be that we will lose great research? Those that are disposed to research will still need to do it, but why do you need a Politician or manager need to write a 200 page dissertation?
15:11 April 21, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
at 12:58 on April 20, 2011 by twisted wrote:

"She is a politician...telling less than the truth comes with the training to be a politician."

I fully agree, what we experience with European politicians is a shame to democracy. It would be justifiable, when the qualifications of all people in leading positions ( whether in politcs or commerce), were to be examined by an independent education committee.

The chances are, that few doctor titles have ever really been earned by those displaying them. Who you know, seems still to be of more value than what you know, in western society.
03:43 April 22, 2011 by neunElf
Merkel got rid of her only challenger within the CDU by exposing KT zu G, now everyone's qualifications are being checked.
10:46 April 22, 2011 by tallady
whpmgr come on get a soap box . you seem to feel you know a lot about Plagiarism and the time it takes. It takes a lot of time to be a successful bank robber too.

There can be no amnesty for plagiarism, only giving your degree back and enduring the scorn of your fellow Academics and being osterized by them.

You being a self stated honest and hard working Academic should be outraged by this blatant disregard for Academia.
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