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Government advisor stripped of doctorate

The Local · 19 Apr 2012, 08:00

Published: 19 Apr 2012 08:00 GMT+02:00

Margarita Mathiopoulos describes herself as an entrepreneur and honorary professor of US foreign policy and international security at Potsdam University.

She also has strong links to the Free Democratic Party, Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner, having been advisor to its former leader Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Bonn University decided on Wednesday to strip her of her doctorate after considering evidence of more than 320 places in her work where the “original sources were systematically not properly cited”.

Her thesis, called “America: the experiment of progress. A comparison of the political thinking in Europe and the USA,” contained many passages from other academic work without the proper acknowledgement, a Bonn University statement said.

Her thesis, written in the 1980s, was criticised in the early 1990s after serious methodical errors were discovered, but no evidence of deliberate fraud was detected.

The investigation was reopened after the internet site VroniPlag suggested there were hundreds of incidents of plagiarism in the work.

Now, “due to the systematic and widely-spread practice, the deciding committee considers it is clear that this was not simply a series of mistakes, rather deliberate cheating of academic copyright,” the university statement said.

Now Mathiopoulos joins the ranks of German political figures to be stripped of their doctorates for cheating in their theses – a group infamously led by former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg whose disgrace led to his resignation.

Story continues below…

Der Spiegel reported last week that she stood to lose her honorary professorship at Braunschweig University should her doctorate be withdrawn. Potsdam University hinted it might take a similar view.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:19 April 19, 2012 by pepsionice
Since folks have lots of time on their hands....let's make this interesting....go back and pull every single thesis for every single German government employee and review them.

My humble bet....over forty percent fail. Go pull some out from the 1800s.....and I'll bet that a fair percentage of those fail.
11:46 April 19, 2012 by raandy
That may well be the case pepsionice, it would seem the fault lies with the Academics that awarded her the degree in the first place. They obviously are not doing their job, maybe because their Doctorates are also plagiarised .
13:04 April 19, 2012 by McM
Couldn't agree more.A doctoral candidate has a supervisor/s that represent the host University who finally award the credential. They are legally and professionally bound to review the submission before it is presented to the peer group academic panel that awards the credential and ensure that it is academically sound and properly cited. If not it is returned to the candidate for correction and the removal of any dodgy material. The client ,the candidate is not responsible for the award. The academic panel at the University is. If an award is given for work that is shonky then the focus should fall on the University ,their academic reveiw panel . The standing of the awarding institute should be challenged and their faculty fired for malpractice
16:29 April 19, 2012 by lordkorner
A fine looking woman though...
17:05 April 19, 2012 by Englishted
Some people here are using the old and wrong blame game.

I was my fault I was mugged I should not have been there,she was raped because she was wearing a mini skirt etc.etc.

This woman lied and cheated ,simple as that .

When are the courts going to take up the fact that so many of these "doctors" have used the phoney exam to gain power, if I or anyone else did it to get a job we would be leaving ourselves open to a charge of fraud .

Because it is fraud and that is I believe illegal .
18:59 April 19, 2012 by Daniel D
The lesson here is clear. Every person who commits plagiarism must clearly and unambiguously confess and accept full responsibility. This is the only way for a plagiarizing author or her publisher to avoid a belated and therefore all the more painful and humiliating punishment. Being caught is much worse than coming clean. More here http://goo.gl/C1DZT
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