Sunday, April 29, 2012

Berlin Politician Returns Doctorate

There's a bizarre case brewing in Berlin, Germany. A local politician, Florian Graf, chief of the CDU party group in the city-state governing council, announced Friday afternoon that he was returning his doctorate to the University of Potsdam.

His announcement (here his text) was a very strange tale. It seems that he had submitted his thesis and delivered the copies to the library, but requested that they not be on loan because he was publishing an article and the journal wanted to be the first publisher. And then he got the piece of paper saying he had a doctorate and has been using it ever since, even though he does not have the thesis published.

And now he's come to realize, as he said to the Bild-Zeitung, that he is sure that he did not follow quoting conventions and asks for everyone's forgiveness. And his fellow party members are rushing to hug him and say: ohhhh, that's bad, we're so sorry, you are such a nice guy. He's requested a vote of confidence for Thursday (Tuesday is a holiday in Germany, and most of the country will take Monday off as well).

One hopes that the press is mad at this silly game with the unpublished dissertation - they have been asking around VroniPlag, hoping that we had something documented, a nice bar code or something. But it looks like this was the Bild-Zeitung that forced his hand. Or he got the first draft back from the journal he was publishing in, Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen.  Maybe they ran his paper through a plagiarism detection machine and turned up too many matches. And it seems that the University of Potsdam was already in the process of investigating the matter.

If the story spins out, I'll keep you posted here!

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