What to do when plagiarizing becomes good scholarly practice?

For the last couple of weeks, the German Minister of Defense, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, was under pressure because it was found out that he had plagiarized parts of his PhD thesis. After first admitting that he had made mistakes, zu Guttenberg finally decided to resign from his post. One of his reasons was that he did not think that his personal situation should go on to dominate the press the way it did in the last couple of weeks. The plot however gets more interesting by the minute. Following an article on bbc news, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of Libya, has studied at LSE, London and is also supposed to have plagiarized his PhD thesis. In addition, LSE had received project and university funding from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. Sir Howard Davies, the director of LSE, who even traveled to Libya, is under enormous pressure to not only return the money but to sever any ties with the country. Although the two cases are at a first glimpse quite dissimilar, other than the plagiarizing part, they do have a political dimension in common. Continue reading “What to do when plagiarizing becomes good scholarly practice?”