guttenplag – crowdsourcing the extent of karl-theodor zu guttenberg’s plagiarism

Germany’s (now former) minister of defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg plagiarized much of his dissertation (a presentation I saw today referred to this incident) — here’s the scoop.  There’s an effort to “crowdsource” the exact extent of the plagiarism, titled “Guttenplag,” a wiki where readers can identify plagiarized pages.  So far readers have found that 76% of the dissertation’s pages have plagiarized content.

Gaddafi’s son’s dissertation is also being checked for plagiarism (well, there might just be a ghost-writer).  And here’s an article on the control+c, control+v plagiarism boom.

With increased digitizing, I’m guessing this type of thing will become more and more automated (text-to-text comparison is easy) and we’re bound to find additional instances (even from the distant past).

Written by teppo

March 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm

2 Responses

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  1. In Germany there is a nice new discussion about the Web 2.0 boom referring to Guttenplag as a example.

    (Also connected to the Uprise in Northern Africa, where Web2.0 seemed to have played a role, not sure how important it really was).

    Also have a look at the forms of protest, the “Monarcho-Hedonist-International” that protested for “Monarchy, Now or Never”, or “Guttenberg has great Hair”… In Berlin the spontaneous satire group also managed to organize the PRO-Guttenberg demonstration which was quite “absurd”.



    March 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

  2. As a guest worker who has lived in Germany for over 30 years ( scottish born, educated in London), I would like to share how I experienced this whole affair.
    I love living in Germany, especially Hamburg. I love my german friends, neighbours and colleagues, I would not wish to live in another country. So perhaps I can be excused just this once for not going with the oh so self-righteous crowd.
    First I studied Karl Theodor carefully, in talk shows and even live while he was in Hamburg. I listened to him ‘telling the truth’
    for the first time in a talk show – yes our soldiers are caught up in a war in Afghanistan – he did this to get better equipment for them so that they did not have to risk their lives unnecessarily ( no war so no heavy equipment, that was their deal until Gutenberg came on the scene.) No-one really made an issue of this, however they were quick to make an issue of his sunglasses, outfits and other ‘important’ features during his visits to Afghanistan. Then I saw him being criticised for taking his
    beautiful wife with him ( she is gorgeous, I understand pangs of envy arousing critical thoughts in our journalists). I thought, good for him, he is showing his soldiers how much he values and respects their contribution to our safety here in Germany.
    And of course there was a television program, God forbid, he took a reporter with him to Afghanistan. Was this just another performance, after all he was wearing those sunglasses again? I don’t agree with the critics, anyone who saw the program knows he put his soldiers first, it was about their lives and the hardships involved, e.g. leaving families with young children behind or being on duty, in full uniform, in 40° heat. Now I was never naive enough to believe that Guttenberg is a saint, however I did recognise a good politician who showed courage, integrity and a natural flair for reaching out to people. I was more than dismayed to observe what I can only call ‘the witch chase’ gaining momentum. Yes he mucked up his dissertation, probably wanting to be efficient and get it off his chest – and his professors should have refused to accept it, if they had been doing their job properly. Yes he blew it when he was caught out, he didn’t react as one would have wished, he made a mistake. All those who have never made a mistake please stand up!
    However if Germany reduces a young promising politician with all his attributes to someone who has cheated, is cheating and will do nothing but cheat, if Germany ignores all his other abilities, then I feel sorry for this country. Guttenberg is so much more for those who are willing to see,


    Pamela Michaelis

    June 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm

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