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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

TU Vienna initiates plagiarism proceedings against poppers

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This should be done by independent, external experts, it said in a broadcast on Tuesday. At the same time, however, the TU also stated that “the honesty of Dr. Popper is beyond doubt”. Weber had accused Popper of citing text passages about the human respiratory system in his (mathematical) diploma thesis without identifying them accordingly. In Popper’s dissertation, he also found third-party plagiarism from a Wikipedia entry, from a dissertation six months earlier and from a specialist article by other authors nine years earlier. The points of criticism would not affect the “scientific core” of the work – but it should not have been accepted due to the regulations at the TU.

Popper then admitted to having taken over passages “without reflection”. However, his work was written independently.

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The TU now wants to have it determined whether the work only has formal defects or whether it is plagiarism within the meaning of the University Act (UG). For the latter, on the one hand, an intention to deceive must be proven and, on the other hand, the defect must be “essential” – i.e. decisive for the positive assessment of the work.

“In this respect, Dr. Weber has earned academic thanks, because only the pointing out of formal deficiencies and the public discussion about them conveys thematic transparency and also shows how indispensable it is to teach and examine good scientific practice at universities.” , it said on the part of the rectorate of the university.

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Since 2013, scientific work such as dissertations, diploma or master theses has had to be submitted electronically at the TU. Plagiarism software has been in use to check theses for two years – however, it is up to the deans of studies to decide whether a check is useful or necessary.

In the plagiarism procedure, it must be determined whether, on the one hand, there is deception and, on the other hand, whether the rest of the work is sufficient as personal contribution in order to arrive at an assessment. If the latter is not the case, the assessment of the work will be declared void and the academic degree thus obtained will be revoked. There are no other sanctions such as a lower grade or a reprimand.

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