In the past few years, there were many well-known European politicians who had to contend with their very own plagiarism affairs and therefore have lost part of their title. But there are also politicians who have written off at least in parts and were still allowed to keep their title. Dealing with plagiarism is therefore not uniformly regulated in Europe.

Among other things, this is due to the fact that the line between plagiarism with an intention to deceive and an honest mistake, in which another author has been written off, sometimes runs smoothly. The concrete handling of plagiarism depends, therefore, above all on whether the examiners were able to recognize an intention to deceive the respective student.

Dealing with plagiarism – an increasingly important topic for many European universities
While dealing with plagiarism at foreign universities is usually clearly regulated, this is far from being the case in EU. Particularly in the USA and in England, special software solutions are regularly used to review bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral theses.

The danger that a student could fly up with his plagiarism, there is thus significantly larger. As long as the handling of plagiarism is not uniformly regulated here in EU, unfortunately, the universities continue to run the risk of simply waving through too many students with written off work.

However, graduates should not assume that they are on the safe side just because their plagiarism was not recognized as such when submitting their thesis. Rather, the plagiarism scandals to many top politicians show that even a subsequent is quite possible, which can have serious consequences for their own career. In the coming years, it is also expected that more and more universities in Europe will rely on plagiarism scanners. Finally, the reputation of European universities suffers from the plagiarism scandals of recent years.

To educate students on dealing with plagiarism


There are some universities that not only already use plagiarism scanners, but also provide them to their students. Thus, every bachelor, master or doctoral candidate can check for himself whether his work is flawless or a plagiarism suspicion is raised. However, there are sometimes huge differences between the plagiarism scanners that are currently available on the market. Not all sources cited by students in their scientific work are already available in digital form. Therefore, even the best software only finds 60 to 70 percent of all plagiarism and can not guarantee a 100 percent detection rate.

These numbers should also know the students who have their work checked by such a program. Just because the software beckons your own work does not mean that it is completely free of plagiarism. Especially when the own professor knows a source where the student has written off and which is not yet available in digital form, he knows his own plagiarism can still fly. Especially when statements by another author have been paraphrased, most plagiarism scanners fail and can hardly recognize this as plagiarism, even if it is quite a plagiarism.

In dealing with plagiarism, all students should therefore take special care and prefer to flag their sources too often as too little. Particularly with paraphrased statements by other authors it must be clear that this is not an intellectual achievement but an indirect quotation. To show their students the limits of what is allowed and what constitutes plagiarism, more and more universities are offering their own workshops.

Above all, they hope that the students will do the right thing by themselves. In addition, many students are unsettled, as they are afraid to write off accidentally at a foreign source. For this reason, these special seminars are organized by the universities, which should ensure that the students work more thoroughly. At the same time, students can get rid of all your questions during such sessions. The requirements of the individual universities too often leave many questions unanswered.

So plagiarism can be punished


The universities in EU are mostly concerned with getting everyone involved to pull together more and more. Above all, they want to avoid unintentional mistakes of their graduates, as they lead to a very unpleasant situation for both sides. Therefore, not only the question of whether or not the work was written off plays an important role when it comes to the consequences. Rather, it is also necessary to assess to what extent an intention to deceive has existed.

Those who literally copy text passages on a large scale and spend them as their own ideas have written off so boldly that most of the examiners will probably start with a clear intention to deceive. However, the situation is different when paraphrased and the author has not always identified his sources 100 percent correctly. Especially when there are only a few such passages, not all examiners assume an intention to deceive.

If there is no intention to deceive, a title discount is not mandatory. This does not mean, however, that graduates can simply keep their title. Rather, a revision of your own thesis is probably necessary to continue to meet the criterion of scientific quality, which is required for the award of the title. If a plagiarism can be proven with a bold intention to deceive, on the other hand, he can assume that he will soon be rid of his title.

Some universities, such as the University have also introduced a penalty catalog, which provides for heavy fines. Not only will graduates be denied their exams, but they will also be unable to submit a revised thesis for the title. Rather, they have to expect fines of a maximum of 50,000 euros. These administrative penalties are rarely enforced by universities. However, they want to set a clear sign against plagiarism.

At the same time, plagiarism is also a copyright infringement that can not only be prosecuted and punished by the universities themselves. However, the competent prosecutor will file a complaint only in cases of public interest. Anyone who does not work as a high-ranking political leader, dean of a university or a big business personality does not need to fear intervention by the relevant law enforcement agency. In a successful criminal case, however, may be further high fines on the defendant.

And again trouble about a plagiarism with a doctoral thesis. A doctor is under suspicion of plagiarism, but the University of Bonn releases the doctor vonm suspicion because he did not deceive willful third parties. In 2010, he submitted his dissertation, which can be purchased at Vroniplag.
Although the University of Bonn has acquitted the doctor of suspected fraud, the matter has not yet settled. This case will also be discussed at the next Faculty Council meeting (the lecturers and staff would have insisted).

Anger for a plagiarism that has not been officially proven
The doctoral supervisor of the doctor under suspicion, a respected junior professor, does not want to comment on the dissertation.

At the Faculty Council meeting, the problem of plagiarism can be revisited so that a review of the maintenance or withdrawal of the academic degree is initiated. It makes trouble about a plagiarism with a doctoral dissertation that should actually fail by the test procedure.
Lecturers and staff disagreed with the examination procedure with which the dissertation was to be examined.


The member magazine of the nationwide Hochschulverbandes der Uniprofessoren is shocked by this case and criticizes the wrong handling of plagiarism. A plagiarism with a dissertation is a great offense, which must have consequences. Instead, the University of Bonn trivializes the serious problem. The dean addresses the doctoral committee, which is responsible for the failed test procedure. The doctoral committee does not solve his task accordingly and has quality defects.

Anger for a plagiarism that would have been avoided at another college
Other universities will respond with appropriate preliminary suspicious cases. Special procedures have been developed for this purpose and these are carried out by specialized people.


After the examination, the dean and the doctoral committee have been informed that there is a literal copy of text passages without proof of source, but this can not be attributed to deliberate torture behavior. How the matter ends, is not yet in sight.
The doctor faces a difficult future. To avoid such mistakes, you should subject your work to plagiarism testing, so that nothing stands in the way of your career.