Baron von Cut-and-Paste

Feb 18, 2011


Ooops. The young, charismatic, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is in trouble for allegedly plagiarizing parts of his dissertation. He announced that he is temporarily dropping his doctoral title. His defense? — there were mistakes, but nothing plagiarized:

“It was compiled over the course of about seven years while I was at the same time working as a member of parliament and while I was a young father. It contains mistakes, no doubt about it. I am extremely unhappy about every single one of those mistakes.”

Among other things, he apparently he lifted passages from a US Embassy website without attribution (even with attribution, that probably should still be a crime).

The media is having a field day. From the same BBC report:

the ZDF television website dubbing him “Zu Copyberg”, Financial Times Deutschland naming him “Baron Cut-and-Paste”, and Berlin daily Tageszeitung nicknaming him “Zu Googleberg”.

Still the issues are serious and given the increasing frequency of high profile plagiarism allegations, it prompted me to take a look back to Dan’s excellent post and the extensive comments on the topic here at Duck last fall. It’s worth another read if you get a chance.

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Jon Western has spent the last fifteen years teaching IR in liberal arts colleges at Mount Holyoke College and the Five Colleges in western Massachusetts. He has an eclectic range of intellectual interests but often writes on international security, U.S. foreign policy, military intervention, and human rights. He occasionally shares his thoughts about professional life in liberal arts colleges. In his spare time he coaches middle school soccer, mentors the local high school robotics team, skis, and sails.