Thursday, March 29, 2012

Plagiarism in High Places

The latest to be outed is the President of Hungary Dr. Pál Schmitt, whose 1992 PhD thesis had 17 pages of stuff lifted from the work of a German scholar, and a further 180 pages "partly copied" from the work of a Bulgarian sports scholar. [Thanks to my colleague Prof. Atul Chokshi for the e-mail alert].

But wait, it gets worse:

The committee found that even though Mr Schmitt had copied large chunks of other people’s work and passed it off as his own, he should not be blamed. The problem lay rather with his supervisors, who did not do their jobs properly. Mr Schmitt's thesis met the formal requirements of the time. He will keep his degree.

The Economist story has a great title: "He copied, but he's not a plagiarist."

This belongs right up there with another recent episode that produced a novel definition of plagiarism: overlap by oversight."