GERMANY: Calls for stricter screening of PhD theses

The plagiarism scandals that rocked the political world in Germany this year have led to a period of soul-searching among academics and researchers around the country. They have also prompted calls for stricter controls at German universities, writes Christopher F Schuetze for The New York Times.

At issue is the prestigious title of doctor, which is widely used in Germany, even outside academics circles. Many politicians campaign with the title prominently displayed as part of their name. After several cases in which doctoral theses were described as using unattributed material from earlier works, the most prominent of which pushed Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to resign as defence minister, German universities have questioned the way doctoral candidates are tested.

Some academics insist that the system is generally sound, pointing out that in the half-dozen high-profile cases where plagiarism was found, the doctoral degree was ultimately retracted. Still, some politicians are calling for stricter guidelines and even for a nationwide system to screen submitted theses.
Full report on The New York Times site