Monday, May 9, 2011

Plagiarism Fun!

For some semester-end shock and fun, check out what angry, technologically-adept Germans are able to reveal about plagiarism:

A politician, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, was recently discovered to have plagiarized parts of his doctoral thesis. The extent to which he plagiarized is now coming to light, and it is a jaw dropper.

Language Log, from which I stole this idea for a post, notes that because of this fellow's reaction (which has been to laugh it off in a rich, playboy kind of way) plenty of people have put some effort into assessing his work. The result is as visually appealing as the plagiarism is morally reprehensible.

This image is a barcode "scan" of his dissertation with representation as the fraction of pages (original page here): The blue lines are table of contents, bib, and other addenda. The black lines are pages with plagiarism from a single source. The red lines are pages with plagiarism from multiple sources. The white lines are pages with no plagiarism.

Be sure to check out the markup of individual pages here.

The moral of the story is easy: If you are a fabulously wealthy politician and you want to get a graduate degree, make sure the person you hire to write your thesis actually writes it and does not just plagiarize most of it from other sources. A lack of quality control can lead to inconvenient embarrassment.

1 comment:

  1. To make matters worse....based on that picture, I'm convinced that this is actually Matt Damon pretending to be a German.