German 'cut-and-paste' minister wants doctorate scrapped

22nd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany's defence minister, embroiled in a plagiarism scandal, has asked for his doctorate to be scrapped and admitted "serious errors" in his thesis, the University of Bayreuth said Monday.

The aristocratic Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg had temporarily given up his doctorate title while his alma mater looked into the claims that he copied several passages of his 2006 dissertation.

In a letter sent late Monday, the minister said a close inspection of his thesis showed "serious errors... which are not compatible with scientific work," university spokesman Frank Schmalzle told AFP.

Internet sleuths set up a collaborative website, or Wiki, to comb through the 475 pages of zu Guttenberg's work, concluding there was evidence of unattributed copying on 270 of them.

When the 14 pages of content and 65 pages of footnotes are taken into account, this amounts to more than two-thirds of the dissertation.

The suave and popular 39-year-old, dubbed "Baron Cut-And-Paste" and "Zu Googleberg" by a gleeful media, acknowledged on Friday that there were "mistakes" in his thesis but denied plagiarism.

© 2011 AFP

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