List of plagiarism incidents

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The list of plagiarism incidents is a summary of notable publicized affairs wherein plagiarism was center of scrutiny.

Notable cases in academia[edit]

  • The 11th-century Muslim scholar Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi considered the Book of Animals of Al-Jahiz (d. 869) to be "little more than a plagiarism" of Aristotle's Kitāb al-Hayawān, a charge that was once levelled against Aristotle himself with regard to a certain "Asclepiades of Pergamum".[1] Later scholars have noted that there was only a limited Aristotelian influence in al-Jahiz's work, and that al-Baghdadi may have been unacquainted with Aristotle's work.[2]
  • James A. Mackay, a Scottish historian, was forced to withdraw all copies of his biography of Alexander Graham Bell from circulation in 1998 because he plagiarized the last major work on the subject, a 1973 work. Also accused of plagiarizing material on biographies of Mary, Queen of Scots, Andrew Carnegie, and Sir William Wallace, he was forced to withdraw his next work, on John Paul Jones, in 1999 for an identical reason.[3][4]
  • Marks Chabedi, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, plagiarized his doctoral thesis. He used a work written by Kimberly Lanegran at the University of Florida and copied it nearly verbatim before submitting it to The New School. When Lanegran discovered this, she launched an investigation into Chabedi. He was fired from his professorship, and The New School revoked his Ph.D.[5]
  • Historian Stephen Ambrose has been criticized for incorporating passages from the works of other authors into many of his books. He was first accused in 2002 by two writers for copying portions about World War II bomber pilots from Thomas Childers's The Wings of Morning in his book The Wild Blue.[6] After Ambrose admitted to the errors, the New York Times found further unattributed passages, and "Mr. Ambrose again acknowledged his errors and promised to correct them in later editions."[7]
  • Norman Finkelstein has charged Alan Dershowitz with committing plagiarism by using material from Joan Peters's 1984 book From Time Immemorial in his book The Case for Israel, without giving proper credit.[8] See "Dershowitz–Finkelstein affair".
  • Author Doris Kearns Goodwin interviewed author Lynne McTaggart in her 1987 book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, and she used passages from McTaggart's book about Kathleen Kennedy. In 2002, when the similarities between Goodwin's and McTaggart's books became public, Goodwin stated that she had an understanding that citations would not be required for all references, and that extensive footnotes already existed. Many doubted her claims, and she was forced to resign from the Pulitzer Prize board.[9][10]
  • Mathematician and computer scientist Dănuţ Marcu claims to have published over 383 original papers in various scientific publications. A number of his recent papers have been shown to be exact copies of papers published earlier by other authors.[11]
  • A University of Colorado investigating committee found Ethnic Studies professor and activist Ward Churchill guilty of multiple counts of plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification. After the Chancellor recommended Churchill's dismissal to the Board of Regents, Churchill was fired on 24 July 2007.[12][13]
  • Physicist and Vice Chancellor of Kumaon University, India, Prof. B.S. Rajput resigned in 2003 after he and a student were found guilty of plagiarism of a paper (which formed part of the student's thesis).[14][15]
  • In 2007 researchers of Anna University Chennai in Madras published a paper in the Journal of Materials Science,[16] an exact copy of an article from the University of Linköping published in PNAS.[17][18]
  • In April 2008, James Twitchell, a professor of literature at the University of Florida, admitted having plagiarized and falsified the works of multiple authors.[19]
  • In March 2010, Manuel V. Pangilinan, a prominent Filipino businessman and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ateneo de Manila University, was found to have given a commencement speech that contained numerous lines lifted from speeches of other prominent public figures. Pangilinan offered to resign from his post at the university, which was rejected by the Board of Trustees,[20] a move which garnered controversy.
  • In March 2010, Prof. Wang Hui of Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Tsinghua University, was charged by Wang Binbin, a professor of literature from Nanjing University, of plagiarism found in his doctoral dissertation on Lu Xun.[21][22] Wang Binbin also sampled one chapter in Wang Hui's four-volume magnum opus The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought, and accused Wang Hui of abuse of the sources.[23]
  • Suman Sahai, an Indian biochemist, was found to have plagiarized from Frode Fonnum in her 1986 habilitation thesis submitted to the University of Heidelberg.[24]
  • Diederik Stapel, formerly a social psychologist at Tilburg University in Netherlands, fabricated data in over 50 peer-reviewed publications.[25] He was suspended from his post at Tilburg University in September 2011. He voluntarily gave up his PhD and was being prosecuted in Netherlands with the possibility of facing jail time. After a settlement with Dutch prosecutors, Mr. Stapel will do 120 hours of community service, and decline disability and illness benefits that would have added up to 18 months’ worth of salary.[26]
  • A 2013 review paper by Öner Özdemir from Turkey was retracted from the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary Medicine (JEBCAM) since the author had "patched the paper together from a variety of other sources"[27] as well as his own previous work without proper citation.[28] The website Retraction Watch also reported that in the retracted article they found sections with nearly identical wording to an earlier paper by Özdemir.[27]
  • In Sept 2012, a Canada research chair and Professor Dongqing Li at the University of Waterloo, and his student Yasaman Daghighi, issued a retraction for using text and figures that originated with other researchers. “Dongqing Li declared himself that he regards this case clearly being plagiarism,”.[29] As a consequence, Li was suspended from the university without pay for four months, from April 1, 2013 to July 31, 2013.
  • In 2012, IEEE posted "Notice of Violation of IEEE Publication Principles" regarding a paper by Md. Maruf Monwar, at the University of Northern British Columbia (got PhD from the University of Calgary, Canada, in 2012), Dr. Waqar Haque, Professor of Computer Science and Business School at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, and Paul, P.P. at University of Rajshahi. The paper "contains significant portions of original text from" three papers by others, and was "copied with insufficient attribution (including appropriate references to the original author(s) and/or paper title) and without permission.", "Due to the nature of this violation, reasonable effort should be made to remove all past references to this paper, and future references should be made to the following article[sic]..." [30]

Video games[edit]

  • Adventure game Limbo of the Lost was withdrawn from sale after the discovery of an extensive amount of plagiarized content from multiple video games and films.[31]
  • Atari's video game Pong was accused by Magnavox of being a copy of a tennis game on their earlier home game console, the Odyssey. Nolan Bushnell saw Ralph Baer's version at a 1972 electronics show in Burlingame, California. Bushnell then founded Atari and established Pong as its featured game. Baer and Magnavox filed suit against Bushnell and Atari in 1973 and finally reached an out-of-court settlement in 1976.[32][33]
  • Several instances of plagiarism have occurred at computer-game competitions such as the World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC). In 1998, the Go program KCC Igo was found to have plagiarized the previous champion Handtalk.[34] Although not disqualified at the time, KCC Igo was barred from participating in the Computer Olympiad a decade later. In 2011, early versions of the four-time chess champion Rybka was found to have plagiarized Crafty and Fruit. Rybka was stripped of its four titles and banned from future participation in the WCCC.


  • In 1999, writer and television commentator Monica Crowley allegedly plagiarized part of an article she wrote for the Wall Street Journal (August 9, 1999), called "The Day Nixon Said Goodbye." The Journal ran an apology the same week. Timothy Noah of Slate magazine later wrote of the striking similarities in her article to phrases Paul Johnson used in his 1988 article for Commentary called "In Praise of Richard Nixon".[35]
  • New York Times reporter Jayson Blair plagiarized articles and manufactured quotations in stories, including stories regarding Jessica Lynch and the Beltway sniper attacks. He and several editors from the Times resigned in June 2003.[36]
  • Moorestown Township, New Jersey, high-school student Blair Hornstine had her admission to Harvard University revoked in July 2003 after she was found to have passed off speeches and writings by famous figures, including Bill Clinton, as hers in articles she wrote as a student journalist for a local newspaper.[37][38]
  • Long-time Baltimore Sun columnist Michael Olesker resigned on January 4, 2006, after being accused of plagiarizing other journalists' articles in his columns.[39]
  • Conservative blogger Ben Domenech, soon after he was hired to write a blog for the Washington Post in 2006, was found to have plagiarized a number of columns and articles he'd written for his college newspaper and National Review Online, lifting passages from a variety of sources ranging from well-known pundits to amateur film critics. Domenech ultimately apologized and resigned.[40]
  • Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle was forced to resign when it was revealed that amid other allegations, his Globe column dated August 2, 1998, contained ten passages lifted from Brain Droppings, a book by George Carlin published in 1997.[41]
  • A Pakistani ezine, Wecite, was found to have plagiarised as many as 11 articles in its May 2007 issue, many of them verbatim, from various sources on the web, including Hindustan Times, Rediff, Blogcritics, Vis-a-Vis magazine and Slate magazines.[42] The ezine management pulled the website and apologised, terming the plagiarism a product of the "mis-use" of authority by writers and editors of the magazines, and promising to deal with the plagiarists accordingly but "by no means" letting the "genuine efforts of its [other] writers, administration, and management suffer for it".[43]
  • In an October 2007 column for The Sun-Herald, Australian television presenter David Koch plagiarised verbatim three lines from a column in The Sunday Telegraph. Koch stated to Media Watch: "... it has since been pointed out to me that these 3 sentences look as though they came from a similar story in another newspaper. While that was not obvious in the research brief it isn't an excuse and I take full responsibility for the mistake."[44]
  • In August 2008, Slate magazine's music critic Jody Rosen accused The Bulletin, an alternative weekly published in Texas, of numerous instances of plagiarism.[45]
  • In May 2009, Maureen Dowd was accused of copying a sentence from a Talking Points Memo blog. While she denied reading the blog, Dowd did not deny the plagiarism charges and the New York Times issued a correction.[46][47]
  • In 2012, it was reported that Jonah Lehrer self-plagiarized several works he submitted to The New Yorker.[48][49] All five of these articles now appear on The New Yorker website with editor's notes listing the articles' previous places of publishing, including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Wired, and The Guardian.[50] A correction posted on The New Yorker website claims that Lehrer also misrepresented the source of a quote taken from an article by another author.[51] Lehrer has since apologized for the reuse of his own work.[52]

Notable cases in the arts[edit]


  • In the first half of the 1800s, Stendhal "plagiarized", reprised, or appropriated excerpts from Giuseppe Carpani, Théophile Frédéric Winckler, Sismondi and others.[53][54][55]
  • A young Helen Keller was accused in 1892 of plagiarizing Margaret T. Canby's story The Frost Fairies in her short story "The Frost King". She was brought before a tribunal of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, where she was acquitted by a single vote. She said she was worried she may have read The Frost Fairies and forgotten it, "remained paranoid about plagiarism ever after"[56][57] and said that this led her to write an autobiography: the one thing she knew must be original.
  • Alex Haley settled a 1977 lawsuit with Harold Courlander that cited approximately 80 passages in Haley's novel Roots (1976) as having been plagiarized from Courlander's novel The African (1967). "Accusations that portions of 'Roots' (Doubleday hard cover, Dell paperback) consisted of plagiarized material or were concocted plagued Mr. Haley from soon after the book's publication up until his death in February 1992. In 1978, Mr. Haley was sued for plagiarism by Harold Courlander, author of the novel The African, and Haley paid him $650,000 in an out-of-court settlement."[58] Haley insisted that "the passages 'were in something somebody had given me, and I don't know who gave it to me . . . . Somehow or another, it ended up in the book."[59]
  • Leading Edge, a speculative-fiction magazine edited and published by students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, found itself the center of a plagiarism controversy when a story it published turned out to have been plagiarized by a prison inmate submitting it as his own work.[60] Geoffrey A. Landis' 1994 novella "The Singular Habits of Wasps", originally published in the April 1994 issue of Analog, was submitted by Phillip S. Barcia, purchased by Leading Edge, and published in issue 39.[61][62][63] A correction notice was published in issue 40 indicating the actual author of the story.[64]
  • Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, has been implicated in seven separate alleged acts of plagiarism, four of which resulted in lawsuits, but all such suits were ultimately dismissed.[65][66][67][68][69]
    • Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh accused Brown of "appropriating the architecture" of the 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Despite a character in The Da Vinci Code being named "Leigh Teabing" (the surname an anagram of "Baigent") and his finding that Mr. Brown's claim to have only discovered the authors' book late in his research process was false, a British judge dismissed the copyright infringement claim in April 2006, on the grounds that the earlier book claims to be nonfictional and nobody owns purported facts, however fanciful they may be.[70]
    • Novelist Lewis Perdue accused Brown of plagiarizing his novels The Da Vinci Legacy (1983) and Daughter of God (2000). Despite alleged similarities, a U.S. judge dismissed the case in August 2005.[71]
    • Award-winning novelist Jack Dunn twice sued Mr. Brown for appropriating material from his book The Vatican Boys in the latter's novels The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons.[72] Again despite alleged similarities, both cases were dismissed.
    • Russian historian and curator Mikhail Anikin claimed Dan Brown misappropriated the term "DaVinci Code" and the notion of the Mona Lisa's face being half Jesus and half Mary,[73] losing two lawsuits brought in Russia and stateside.
    • Writers William Henry and Mark Gray claimed to be delighted that not only were three of their presentations claiming that masonic symbols in the U.S. Capitol point to higher consciousness incorporated without attribution into Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, but that one of Mr. Henry's articles was used in constructing clues issued on Mr. Brown's website prior to his book's release.[74]
    • Author David Morrell (best known for First Blood (novel)|First Blood, the novel that launched Sylvester Stallone's Rambo character) found many uncanny similarities between his 1991 novel The Covenant of the Flame and The DaVinci Code as well as between his novel Fraternity of the Stone and Angels and Demons.[75] Mr. Morrell chose not to sue.
  • Kaavya Viswanathan's first novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life is reported to contain plagiarized passages from at least five other novels. All editions of the book were subsequently withdrawn, her publishing deal with Little, Brown and Co. was rescinded, and a film deal with DreamWorks SKG was cancelled.[76][77][78]
  • In 2007 at the age of 12, Marie-Pier Côté, a Canadian, published a novel titled Laura l'immortelle.[79] The author later admitted that she plagiarized a Highlander fan fiction, rewrote it, and presented it as an original work.[80][81][82]
  • On 7 January 2008, the romance-novel review blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books[83] accused romance novelist Cassie Edwards of widespread plagiarism after finding multiple passages in her novels that appeared to be directly taken from various works by other authors, including novels, poems, reference books, and websites about Native American history and culture.[84] Many of the passages came from old references, many without copyright or with expired copyright protection.[83][85] One of Edwards' publishers, Signet, initially defended the passages in question as fair use rather than copyright infringement.[84] Two days later, Signet announced that they would be reviewing all of their Edwards' catalog to determine whether plagiarism had occurred,[86] and, in April 2008, Signet stopped publishing Edwards' books "due to irreconcilable editorial differences."[87]
  • In 2011, Quentin Rowan—the co-owner of a bookstore in Brooklyn, writing under the pen name Q.R. Markham—was found to have extensively plagiarised from several authors in his debut novel, Assassin of Secrets, one week after it was released in the United States. Rowan's novel included passages taken from John le Carré, Robert Ludlum, Charles McCarry and James Bond continuation writers Raymond Benson and John Gardner.[88][89][90]


Main article: Musical plagiarism

Visual arts[edit]

Main article: Appropriation (art)
  • Andy Warhol faced a series of lawsuits from photographers whose work he appropriated and silk-screened. Patricia Caulfield, one such photographer, had taken a picture of flowers for a photography demonstration for a photography magazine. Warhol had covered the walls of Leo Castelli's New York gallery in 1964 with the silk-screened reproductions of Caulfield's photograph. After seeing a poster of their work in a bookstore, Caulfield claimed ownership of the image and while Warhol was the author of the successful silk screens, he settled out of court, giving Caulfield a royalty for future use of the image as well as two of the paintings. Warhol's famous Campbell's Soup Cans, however, are generally held to be non-infringing, despite being clearly appropriated, because "the public was unlikely to see the painting as sponsored by the soup company or representing a competing product. Paintings and soup cans are not in themselves competing products", according to expert trademark lawyer Jerome Gilson.[92]
  • In 2010, in The Jackdaw, Charles Thomson said there were 15 cases where Damien Hirst had plagiarised other work.[93] Examples cited were Joseph Cornell who had created a similar piece to Hirst's Pharmacy in 1943; Lori Precious who had made stained-glass window effects from butterfly wings from 1994, a number of years before Hirst; and John LeKay who did a crucified sheep in 1987.[93] Thomson said that Hirst's spin paintings and installation of a ball on a jet of air were not original, since similar pieces had been made in the 1960s.[93][94] A spokesperson for Hirst said the article was "poor journalism" and that Hirst would be making a "comprehensive" rebuttal of the claims.[95]
  • Filipino amateur photographer and student Mark Joseph Solis has been involved in several plagiarism controversies, including the plagiarizing of Gregory John Smith's photograph Neptune, King of the Seas, which Solis submitted in a photography contest in 2013.[96][97]

Notable cases in politics[edit]


Senator Joseph Biden[edit]

  • Joseph Biden was forced to withdraw from the 1988 Democratic US Presidential nominations when it was revealed that he had failed a 1965 introductory law school course on legal methodology due[98] to plagiarism. "Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., fighting to salvage his Presidential campaign . . . acknowledged 'a mistake' in his youth, when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school. Mr. Biden insisted, however, that he had done nothing 'malevolent,' that he had simply misunderstood the need to cite sources carefully."[99] Biden withdrew from the race September 23, 1987, and reported the law school incident to the Delaware Supreme Court. The court's Board of Professional Responsibility cleared him of any allegations.[100]
  • Biden was also accused of plagiarizing portions of his speeches, notably those of British Labour leader Neil Kinnock and US Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Biden was forced out of the Presidential race after the Michael Dukakis campaign released a video showing Biden using one of Kinnock's speeches without properly attributing it. Biden called the charges "much ado about nothing";[99] it was also revealed that Biden had used and properly cited the Kinnock speech on several other occasions, although he failed to do so on the one instance recorded by the Dukakis campaign.[101]

Iraq War[edit]

  • In a New York Times editorial prior to the Iraq War, United States President George W. Bush's National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice explained that Saddam Hussein could not be trusted for various reasons, including the fact that Hussein had committed plagiarism. "Iraq's declaration [to the United Nations regarding the state of its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs] even resorted to unabashed plagiarism, with lengthy passages of United Nations reports copied word-for-word (or edited to remove any criticism of Iraq) and presented as original text."[102]
  • On February 3, 2003, Alastair Campbell, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Director of Communications and Strategy, released a briefing document to journalists entitled "Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation." It described Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction programs. Journalists discovered that many sources, particularly an article by Ibrahim al-Marashi, had been copied word-for-word, including typographical errors. Journalists dubbed the document the "Dodgy Dossier." After the revelation, Blair's office issued a statement admitting that a mistake was made in not crediting its sources, but it did not concede that the quality of the document's content was affected.[103]

Vladimir Putin[edit]

Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2006 was accused of plagiarism by fellows at the Brookings Institution who allege that "[l]arge chunks of Putin's economics dissertation on planning in the natural resources sector were lifted from a management text published by two University of Pittsburgh academics nearly 20 years earlier."[104]

On 27 June 1997, at the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute Putin defended his Candidate of Science dissertation in economics titled "The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources Under the Formation of Market Relations".[105] According to Clifford G Gaddy, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, a Washington DC think tank, sixteen of the twenty pages that open a key section of Putin's 218-page thesis were copied either word for word or with minute alterations from a management study, Strategic Planning and Policy, written by US professors William King and David Cleland and translated into Russian by a KGB-related institute in the early 1990s.[106][107] Six diagrams and tables were also copied.[108] Gaddy said "there's no question in my mind that this would be plagiarism", but nevertheless does not believe that the plagiarism was really intentional "in the sense that if you had wanted to hide where the text came from you wouldn't even list this work in the bibliography."[109]

The dissertation committee disagreed with Gaddy's claims. Chairman of the committee Natalia Pashkevich, accused Gaddy of not reading the dissertation very well. "There are references to the article mentioned. Everything is done correctly... It is only a plus for Vladimir Putin that he used not only Russian authors, but foreign ones as well." Anatoly Suslov, provost of economics at the Mining Institute, who was present at Putin dissertation defense, recalled: "The opponent was someone from Moscow. The defense went calmly. There were many questions, of course, since it was a candidate's dissertation, but there was no question of plagiarism. No one uncovered anything of the kind. Vladimir Putin defended himself, and he prepared his own work. All those conversations about dissertations being bought are untrue. Ours isn't the kind of institute where you can do that."[110] In his dissertation, and in a later article published in 1999, Putin advocated the idea of so-called National champions, a concept that would later become central to his political thinking.

Rector of the institute, Vladimir Litvinenko, who oversaw Putin's work, later received 5% of the stock of chemical company Phosagro.[111][112] His share is now worth about $260,000,000.[111][112]

Haruna Iddrisu[edit]

In October 2006, the Academic Board of University of Ghana revoked the M. Phil in sociology Degree awarded to Haruna Iddrisu in December 2000 and published on 14 May 2001 on the grounds that the thesis presented by the candidate was later found to have contained plagiarized material.[113] The thesis was titled "Sociological Study of Bribery and Corruption in the Public Service of Ghana."[114]

Stephen Harper[edit]

On September 30, 2008 in Canada, a top campaign official of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party, Owen Lippert, admitted that he plagiarized a speech written on March 20, 2003 for then opposition leader Harper regarding the Party's support for the Iraq War; the speech was copied almost verbatim from a similar speech made by then Australian Prime Minister John Howard two days earlier. This was after Liberal MP Bob Rae noticed the similarities between the two speeches several weeks before Harper called the election, but the Liberals had to wait for the video of Howard's speech to be sent. Additionally, the Liberals also accused Harper of the same plagiarism charges for failing to acknowledge that they had been copied. As a result, Lippert resigned.[115]

Three days later, the Liberals accused Harper for plagiarizing another speech, but this time from fellow Conservative and then Ontario Premier Mike Harris. Out of 4956 words, 44 of the words in Harper's speech, which was written on February 19, 2003 for the House of Commons, is identical to Harris's speech, which was written on December 4, 2002 for the Montreal Economic Institute. However, it is not known who wrote Harper's speech, unlike the speech that Harper had plagiarized from Howard.[116]

Barack Obama[edit]

During the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary, Hillary Clinton accused then Senator Barack Obama of plagiarizing part of a speech given by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.[117] Mr. Patrick later defended Obama in the unattributed use.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg[edit]

Main article: Causa Guttenberg

In February 2011 the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published allegations of plagiarism in the dissertation of German Minister of Defence Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. The allegations were based on a review for a legal journal prepared by a law professor from Bremen. zu Guttenberg at first denied the accusations, but the evidence that was collected on the crowdsourced wiki GuttenPlag Wiki was mounting. The University of Bayreuth swiftly rescinded the doctorate and zu Guttenberg stepped down from all political offices. The documentation of the plagiarism showed text parallels on 94% of the pages and 63% of the lines from over 130 sources.[citation needed]

Pál Schmitt[edit]

On January 11, 2012, the news portal published an article[118] claiming that most of Hungarian President Pál Schmitt's 1992 doctoral thesis, 180 of the 215 pages, was almost a word-for-word translation of parts of Nikolay Georgiev's 465 pages long 1987 French-language manuscript "Analyse du programme olympique", and it also contained a page worth of material from the 1987 work "Analysis of the Olympic Programme" by Hristo Meranzov and Nikolay Georgiev. published a 12 pages long PDF document containing excerpts from both Georgiev's manuscript and Schmitt's dissertation for comparison.on January 19 the news portal reported that parts of the remaining 35 pages of Schmitt's dissertation were translated and copied from Klaus Heinemann's 1991 work "The Economics of Sport: The Institution of Modern Sport as an Area of Economic Competition".[119] Later that day confirmed that a direct translation of eight out of the nine pages of Heinemann's work amounts to further 18 pages of Schmitt's dissertation.[120]

Victor Ponta[edit]

On June 18, 2012, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has been accused by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [121] of plagiarizing his 2003 PhD thesis, written in 2004 on the International Criminal Court. The German newspaper compares Ponta to former Hungarian President Pál Schmitt and former German Defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who resigned following charges of plagiarism. Also Nature magazine[122] writes that Ponta is accused of copying large sections of previous publications without properly quoting the source. Nature claimed that more than half of Ponta's doctorate at the University of Bucharest consists of duplicated text from various works published by Dumitru Diaconu, Vasile Creţu and Ion Diaconu The magazine quoted Marius Andruh, president of the Romanian council for the recognition of university diplomas, as saying: "The evidence of plagiarism is overwhelming."

Two of his appointments for education minister stepped down after they were accused of plagiarism. His first education minister resigned for allegedly plagiarizing a book about Romania's entry into the European Union. His second resigned because of suspicions of plagiarism. At first Ponta denied the accusations, saying they were politically motivated. But later he partially admitted to some of the allegations. Incidentally, Ponta’s thesis supervisor was former Romanian Prime Minister, Adrian Nastase, who became the first leading public figure to be sent to prison for embezzlement and corruption. Nastase has appealed and denies the allegations. According with Quirin Schiermeier, “Nature” journal’s publisher who brought into attention the possible plagiarism, Nastase is not to be blamed: “The task of a PhD supervisor is just to ensure that certain quality standards are met. However the author is the one who needs to pay attention not to acquire someone else work without citing properly the sources.”

National Council for Attesting Titles, Diplomas and University Certificates found that Ponta had committed copy and paste plagiarism and asked that his title of doctor be withdrawn: "85 pages of the 307 pages had been copied without proper attribution". In response, the interim Education Minister, Liviu Pop, dismissed the findings, citing the lack of a quorum, and dissolved the committee.[123][124]

Zsolt Semjén[edit]

In November 2012 allegations of academic misconduct surfaced regarding the theological doctoral dissertation and sociology diploma thesis of Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary and head of the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP).

On 18 November 2012 a Hungarian news portal, published an article which claimed that material that amounts to 40 percent of Semjén's 122 pages long laureatus dissertation (entitled "The challenge of New Age and opportunity for evangelization"), defended in 1991 at the Pázmány Péter Roman Catholic Theological Academy, has been taken from various sources without proper citation.[125]

On 19 November reported that 32-33 pages of Semjén's 46 page long sociology diploma thesis (entitled "An attempted interpretation of New Age"), defended in 1992 at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), is overlapping with his laureatus dissertation which he already submitted and defended.[126]

Tito Sotto[edit]

In 2012, Philippine Senator Tito Sotto was accused of plagiarizing several passages[127] in a speech opposing the Reproductive Health Bill[128] in the Philippine Senate.[129][130][131]

Annette Schavan[edit]

German Federal Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan resigned in 2013 following the revocation of her doctorate due to plagiarism.[132][133]

Rand Paul[edit]

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been accused of plagiarizing passages for several of his speeches and one of his books. In an October 2013 campaign speech delivered at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Paul suggested advances in genetics could lead to abortion becoming a tool of eugenics.[134] Rachel Maddow first reported that Paul's speech plagiarized several passages, virtually verbatim, from the Wikipedia article on the film Gattaca.[135][136]

John Walsh[edit]

Montana Senator John Walsh in 2014 was accused of plagiarizing a paper required for his master’s degree from the United States Army War College. A large part of his paper was taken word-for-word from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document, and also from a 1998 essay from Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, among others, such that one third of the document consisted of plagiarism.[137]


In November 2006, the Associated Press reported activist Daniel Brandt's claim to have uncovered 142 articles with plagiarized content among the 12,000 Wikipedia articles he chose to search. Wikipedia administrators responded that this list misidentified some articles where it was the allegedly original text that had plagiarized Wikipedia, and reported that they took action on the cases that involved copyright violations.[138] He "called on Wikipedia to conduct a thorough review of all its articles."[139]

Other notable instances[edit]

William H. Swanson[edit]

William H. Swanson, CEO of Raytheon, admitted to plagiarism in claiming authorship for his booklet "Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management," after being exposed by The New York Times.[140] On May 2, 2006, Raytheon withdrew distribution of the book.[141]

Martin Luther King, Jr.[edit]

Martin Luther King, Jr., American clergyman, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, received his Ph.D. degree on June 5, 1955, with a dissertation on "A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman". An academic inquiry concluded in October 1991 that portions of his dissertation had been plagiarized and he had acted improperly, but that his dissertation still "makes an intelligent contribution to scholarship"; the committee recommended that his degree not be revoked.[142]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ F. E., Peters (1968). Aristotle and the Arabs: The Aristotelian Tradition in Islam. New York University Press. p. 133. 
  2. ^ Mattock, J. N. (1971). "Review: Aristotle and the Arabs: The Aristotelian Tradition in Islam by F. E. Peters". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 34 (1): 147–148. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00141722. JSTOR 614638. 
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