VroniPlag Wiki

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VroniPlag Wiki
Available inGerman, English
OwnerFandom, Inc.
LaunchedMarch 28, 2011
Current statusActive

VroniPlag Wiki is a wiki started 28 March 2011 at Wikia that examines and documents the extent of plagiarism in German doctoral theses.


Following the revocation of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg's doctoral degree, the VroniPlag Wiki adopted the idea of the GuttenPlag Wiki. VroniPlag is named after the first thesis documented in it, the thesis submitted by Veronica Saß, daughter of German politician Edmund Stoiber. "Vroni" is a nickname in German for "Veronica".

Modus operandi[edit]

Publication of a thesis consists of an overview that contains a "bar code" visualizing the amount of plagiarism, the exact bibliographic information of the theses (and if online, a link) and then a page overview that links to the fragments of plagiarism found on the page. Each fragment is classified as to the kind of plagiarism and must be verified by a second person before it is acceptable. Interesting parts are linked to separately and there is a final report published when the group feels the work is done.

Visualization of the findings proved to be a key factor for the reception.[1]

VroniPlag Wiki only publishes text parallel documentation openly with names of the authors on theses that have been found to contain serious plagiarism. Before publication, the office of academic integrity at the university in question is formally notified, as any revocation of title must be done by the university.

In addition to looking at dissertations, the text parallels[clarification needed] in one habilitation and one book how to write scientifically.

Current cases[edit]

As of February 2016, 152 dissertations, 8 habilitations, 1 master's thesis, and 1 book on scientific writing have been examined in detail on the site.[2] The first seven were:

Dissertations that have been openly published on VroniPlag
Author of the Dissertation Political Party Member of % of the pages found with
plagiarism on date (Link)
Consequences University
Margarita Mathiopoulos[de] FDP 46.31% on July 12, 2011[3] Doctorate rescinded[4] Bonn
Uwe Brinkmann SPD 25.98% on June 15, 2011 [5] Doctorate rescinded[6] Hamburg
Bijan Djir-Sarai FDP Bundestag 44.44% on July 11, 2011[7] Doctorate rescinded[8] Cologne
Georgios Chatzimarkakis FDP European Parliament 71.58% on June 15, 2011[9] Doctorate rescinded[10] Bonn
Silvana Koch-Mehrin FDP European Parliament 34.33% on June 17, 2011[11] Doctorate rescinded[12] Heidelberg
Matthias Pröfrock CDU Landtag of Baden-Württemberg 53.15% on June 26, 2011[13] Doctorate rescinded[14] Tübingen
Veronica Saß 53.98% on May 25, 2011[15] Doctorate rescinded[16] Konstanz

Most of the plagiarism allegations made by VroniPlag led to investigations by the corresponding universities, and some have resulted in the revocation of the degree.[17] Most of these revocations have held up in court. However, some universities disagreed with VroniPlag findings, even in cases of blatant plagiarism (between 40 and 70% of pages affected with plagiarism). The correct methods for dealing with plagiarism—and its prevention—remains an ongoing discussion in Germany.

Awarding of the "Zedler-Preis für freies Wissen 2012" by Wikimedia Germany on July 1, 2012

Prominent cases of plagiarism continue to surface in Germany. At the University of Münster, a text book on scientific writing for lawyers was found to contain massive plagiarism. Ironically, even the chapter on plagiarism was plagiarized. While the book told students not to use Wikipedia, the book itself contained 18 text fragments from the German Wikipedia. The dissertations of two of the book's authors, who received their doctorates at Münster University, were found to show extreme text parallels.

VroniPlag was the first crowd sourcing phenomenon of its kind in Germany that has been referred to as an authoritative source in all major media channels in Germany. The plagiarism investigation project has triggered an extensive nationwide discussion about plagiarism and what represents appropriate consequences for plagiarists and universities. The project was awarded the Zedler Prize for Free Knowledge in the category External Knowledge Project of the year 2011 by the German Wikimedia on July 1, 2012.

Since September 2015, Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen's thesis is under formal investigation by her university after the wiki alleged plagiarism on more than 40% of its pages.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GuttenPlag Wiki Grimme Online Award 2011". jury statement (in German). Archived from the original on 2011-06-25. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  2. ^ "VroniPlag overview". Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  3. ^ "Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Dissertation von Prof. Dr. Margarita Mathiopoulos: Amerika: das Experiment des Fortschritts". VroniPlag Wiki. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  4. ^ "Margarita Mathiopoulos loses her Doctorate (in German)". Universität Bonn. Archived from the original on 2012-04-21. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  5. ^ "Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Dissertation von Dr. Uwe Brinkmann: Die Harmonisierung des europäischen Rüstungsmarktes im Spannungsfeld zwischen Art. 296 EGV und Art. 17 EUV". VroniPlag Wiki. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  6. ^ "SPD-politician Brinkmann must return doctoral title (in German)". Welt Online. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  7. ^ "Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Dissertation von Dr. Bijan Djir-Sarai: Ökologische Modernisierung der PVC-Branche in Deutschland". VroniPlag Wiki. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  8. ^ "Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät nimmt Doktorgrad von Bijan Djir-Sarai zurück (Faculty of economics and social sciences rescinds doctorate of Bijan Djir-Sarai, in German)". University of Cologne. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  9. ^ "Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Dissertation von Georgios Chatzimarkakis: Informationeller Globalismus. Kooperationsmodell globaler Ordnungspolitik am Beispiel des Elektronischen Geschäftsverkehrs". VroniPlag Wiki. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  10. ^ "Scientific misconduct (in German)". Universität Bonn. 2011-07-13. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  11. ^ "Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Dissertation von Silvana Koch-Mehrin: Historische Währungsunion zwischen Wirtschaft und Politik". VroniPlag Wiki. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  12. ^ "Silvana Koch-Mehrin – the University of Heidelberg decides to rescind doctorate (in German)". Universität Heidelberg. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  13. ^ "Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Dissertation von Matthias Pröfrock: Energieversorgungssicherheit im Recht der Europäischen Union/ Europäischen Gemeinschaften". VroniPlag Wiki. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
  14. ^ "Universität Tübingen – NewsFullview-Aktuell". Uni-tuebingen.de. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  15. ^ "Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der Dissertation von Veronica Saß: Regulierung im Mobilfunk". VroniPlag Wiki. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  16. ^ University of Konstanz rescinds doctorate (German) Press information Nr. 52 vom 11. Mai 2011 from the University of Konstanz
  17. ^ "VroniPlag Wiki – Overview of degree revocations". Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  18. ^ Güntner, Joachim (6 October 2015). "Ursula von der Leyen als Exempel?". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 19 November 2015.

External links[edit]