Guttenberg’s plagiarism was bad enough – author Alice Hutchison’s is even worse

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Academics are justifiably upset with Defense Minister Guttenberg, who did great harm to the scientific community by plagiarizing portions of his doctoral dissertation. The successor of Guttenberg’s doctoral supervisor, the law professor Oliver Lepsius, said: “The minister is disconnected from reality. We are dealing with a con artist. It’s incredible how brazenly he deceived honorable people at this university.” (Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung).

The Plagiarism Case Guttenberg-Alice Hutchsion; Click here for the report in German

According to the professor’s account, Guttenberg „deliberately and systematically“ plagiarized from academic sources while claiming ignorance of what he was doing. The outrage is spilling over into the streets. Several hundred people recently protested the minister’s misdeeds at a rally in Berlin. They even went so far as to hang shoes from the gates of the Defense Ministry, alluding to the disrespect the gesture implies in the Arab world. “We’re showing the baron of lies our shoes,” they said. (Sources: DPA, Berliner Zeitung).

The president of the German Research Foundation (DFG), Matthias Kleiner, said the gravity of Guttenberg’s violation should not be downplayed. “Scientists share their ideas and insights. They push them further together. They do not steal them.“ Former DFG President Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker said that so far as academia is concerned, Guttenberg has secured himself an enduring place “in the pillory”. More criticism is hailing in from home and abroad. What Guttenberg did is simply not acceptable. (Source: DPA)

At least Guttenberg admitted to his plagiarism – albeit belatedly, with hesitation, and incompletely. At least his university acted swiftly and decisively when it stripped him of his PhD. At least Guttenberg and the university stand ready to accept responsibility.

The case of author Alice Hutchison and her London publisher Black Dog Publishing, is even more serious. Hutchison and Black Dog committed serious plagiarism in their book about US-Filmmaker Kenneth Anger. But they have never accepted responsibility for their blatant violations.

The Academic Commission of the Humboldt University in Berlin studied the plagiarism and confirmed it unequivocally. The president of the university issued a Statement harshly condemning the plagiarism. But author Alice Hutchison and publisher Duncan McCorquodale both still refuse to budge from their claim of clean hands. It’s dishonorable and dishonest. And it’s a scandal for Alice Hutchison and Black Dog Publishing.

Please click here for more information on both plagiarism cases


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