Web sting catches another German minister

The German government is being picked apart by an anonymous website which has been finding evidence that top ministers plagiarised their papers.

German Education and Research Minister Annette Schavan is the latest to be outed by the Schavanplag site, which claims that she plagiarised parts of her PhD dissertation which was published in 1980.

The site says Schavan copied phrasing from improperly cited sources. Her dissertation was entitled: “Person and conscience—Studies on conditions, need and requirements of today’s consciences” and was a best seller at the University of Düsseldorf.

Schavan showed up at a press conference to talk about her ministry’s proposal for a new law that will give German science organisations more freedom over their budgets.

Instead she found the German media less interested in budgets and instead were more excited about giving her a Chinese burn about the blog.

She said that it all happened a long time and at some point you have to just let things go.  

Her exact quote was that the dissertation was written 32 years ago, and that she “will be happy to give my account to those who are looking into the work”  but it is difficult to deal with anonymous allegations.

Schavan’s case is the latest in a string of similar accusations against German politicians. Just over a year ago, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned after a blogger turned up evidence of extensive plagiarism in his dissertation.

The University of Bayreuth evoked zu Guttenberg’s Ph.D. Title. Since then six other German politicians have had their Ph.D.s revoked because of similar offences.