Comenius University accepted plagiaristic works from Germans

German media reported on suspicions of plagiarism and the difficulty of stripping people of Slovak degrees.

Comenius University in BratislavaComenius University in Bratislava (Source: TASR)

“This is a gross plagiarism,” said German law professor Gerhard Dannemann about a dissertation thesis approved by the Faculty of Management of the Comenius University in Bratislava.

The thesis, discussing the financing of hospitals, was filed by the head of a German charity organisation, Andreas Schubert and resulted in him being awarded a PhD in Slovakia.

The suspicious thesis came to the notice of the German media after the German website VroniPlag pointed to it in 2016. The website keeps track of the theses of German post-graduates which have a suspiciously large percentage of text copied from other sources.

It found plagiarism on 76 out of the 185 pages of Schubert’s thesis. Of them, 12 pages include 50 to 75 percent of copied text, and 47 pages contain more than 75 percent copied text.

Since then, the Germans of the VroniPlag website had not picked up on plagiarism on Slovak sites, until the beginning of this year.

Since mid-January 2018, two more suspicious theses that secured a grade for German students from the Comenius University (UK) have appeared on this website. One of them also stems from the Faculty of Management, while the other one is from the Faculty of Arts.

Thanks to incentives from VroniPlag, several famous people have been investigated in the past, including politicians – and some have even been stripped of their degrees.

The UK’s Faculty of Management accepted the suspicious theses at a time when Slovak control software did not function, its Dean Jozef Komorník claims. Theses in German cannot be checked to this day, he added. “We will have to introduce this, although it is expensive,” Komorník noted.

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