Hermann Horstkotte reports on Spiegel Online about a strange plagiarism case.
A young woman was working on her doctorate in law at the RWTH Aachen. Since there is no law faculty there, she had to submit her doctorate to the University of Bonn. But she did not submit until after she came back from an extended maternity leave.
Her professor in Aachen sent his glowing expertise on her thesis to the Bonn colleague, who, while reading the thesis, discovered that he had read that before. Indeed, the colleague from Aachen had published another volume of his "Handbuch für Europarecht" during her maternity leave. 40 pages of this volume are identical to the thesis submitted.
Now we have the chicken and the egg problem: did the professor take the text from his doctoral student? Did she take the text from the handbook? Did both write the text together?
Aachen investigated the case and determined, that they could not determine who was the original author. They note that the professor should have noticed in his expertise that there was a large portion that matched his recent book. He agrees that this is a lapse on his part.
The University of Bonn now has to decide how to proceed with the case.