Annette Schavan, the German minister for education and research, has had her PhD revoked by the University of Dusseldorf following an investigation into alleged plagiarism.
“As a doctoral candidate, she systematically and deliberately presented intellectual efforts throughout her entire dissertation that were not her own,” [Dusseldorf professor Bruno] Bleckmann said. Large sections of the work, he continued, had been taken from elsewhere without adequate attribution. As such, she was guilty of “intentional deception through plagiarism.”
Schavan’s lawyers argue that the entire process was “error ridden” and “materially illegal.” They claim that the extent of the erroneously cited passages does not justify the revocation of the minister’s doctor title.
The plagiarism allegations came to light on the SchavanPlag blog.
Retraction Watch readers may recall that this is the second German minister to lose a doctorate recently. In February 2011, defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg lost his PhD, and then resigned, because of plagiarism in his 2006 law thesis.
Update, 11:30 a.m. Eastern, 2/10/13: As a commenter and others have noted, Schavan resigned on Saturday. The New York Times reports:
In an emotional news conference, Dr. Schavan said that she would sue to win back the doctorate, but in the meantime she would resign for the greater good. “First the country, then the party and then yourself,” she said.
Thanks to a number of Retraction Watch readers who sent us this story.