May 17, 2011

Online plagiarism hunters track doctoral frauds (DW-WORLD)

The recent revelations of plagiarism by prominent Germans wouldn't be possible without the diligent work of an online community called PlagiPedi. They're working to restore the reputation of German doctoral titles.

The list of targets for a group of online plagiarism hunters is long: over 200 doctoral theses have been flagged by the Internet platform PlagiPedi for a more thorough inspection of their originality. Doctoral theses by famous personalities such as Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and Deutsche Bank head Josef Ackermann are among those slated for a closer look. 

Exactly who is behind the online hunt for plagiarists is unknown. Most work with pseudonyms, such as "Dr. Martin Click," who takes care of media requests. Click answers most questions in writing, and does not want to reveal his real name.

He says he's from northern Germany, has a PhD in engineering and is planning a career in research.

"Unfortunately, a person who uncovers these things often gets a reputation for being a whistle-blower in certain fields," says Click. "As long as that's the case, I don't see any reason to put my career as a an academic on the line. A pseudonym offers a certain amount of protection." >>>


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