VroniPlag Wiki

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VroniPlag Wiki
VroniPlag - collaborative plagiarism documentation
Wiki for the critical examination of dissertations suspected of plagiarism
languages German
founder Martin Heidingsfelder
editorial staff registered and not registered authors
items 36395
user 217 users
Registration optional
On-line March 28, 2011 (currently active)
Exemplary fragment for displaying text matches
Example of the visualization of plagiarism sites in the VroniPlag Wiki
Development of the number of articles in the VroniPlag Wiki. In November 2013 there were over 15,250 articles.

Vroniplag Wiki is on the 28 March 2011 wiki farm Wikia based Wiki , the various university publications - mainly dissertations - examined under plagiarism are advised suspicion. The documentation sometimes triggered reviews by the responsible faculties with very different results. In several dozen cases (as of February 2019) they led to the revocation of the doctoral degree , in other cases they were deemed to be of minor difficulty or rejected.

VroniPlag Wiki, which emerged from the GuttenPlag Wiki environment , is named after Edmund Stoiber's daughter Veronica Saß, whose dissertation was the first to be examined. By the beginning of February 2019 (as of February 10, 2019) the number of named papers examined increased to 188 dissertations and 13 habilitation theses , only a few of which were by politicians.

Origin and procedure

The VroniPlag Wiki is a direct result of the GuttenPlag Wiki , which discussed whether the dissertation of Veronica Saß, the daughter of the former Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber , should also be examined. Within the discussion, investigations outside of the Guttenberg dissertation were criticized as not corresponding to the goal of the wiki, so that the investigation was outsourced to another location. For this purpose , the VroniPlag Wiki was started on March 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm, according to Martin Heidingsfelder's own account under the pseudonym “Goalgetter”, in which numerous other volunteers from the GuttenPlag Wiki subsequently became active. Because of this history, the project rejects a single start-up that Heidingsfelder claimed for himself, as the request to found a new wiki to examine Veronica Saß's dissertation can already be verified in the GuttenPlag wiki before “Goalgetter” appeared.

On April 5, 2011, VroniPlag Wiki published a press release on Matthias Pröfrock's dissertation , in which the employees "from the environment of the GuttenPlag project" stated:

“After Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg's dissertation (Law, University of Bayreuth ), we became Dr. Veronica Saß (Law, University of Konstanz ) and Dr. Matthias Pröfrock provided specific information from an anonymous source. The information turned out to be valid after a corresponding first examination. Regardless of the party-political orientation, the doctoral subject or the university of the doctoral candidate, we will examine these and document them in a publicly transparent manner if there are further substantiated indications. "

Finally, on April 19, 2011, a report on the dissertation by Silvana Koch-Mehrin followed , in which the employees documented the working methods and fundamentals of the project and named preliminary results. The wiki described the procedure for documenting and checking the individual plagiarism finds - called "fragments" - as follows:

“In the first step, users documented suspected plagiarism. As in Wikipedia, this documentation can be made anonymously. The classifications and the sources were documented on the New Findings page. After subsequent verification, the affected parts of the dissertation were divided into fragments, which enable direct comparison with the originals. Before the results were visualized in the 'barcode', an additional plausibility check was carried out according to the 'four-eyes principle'. "

As in its online form, the Wiki also published synopses of individual text passages of the dissertation concerned with excerpts from other publications in the report .

The wiki visualizes its verification results in the form of graphics, on which the proportion of the pages of a university publication on which one or more plagiarism was found is shown in an abstract manner. These graphics are known as " barcodes " because of their appearance .

To quantify and compare the plagiarism finds, the wiki also gives the pages with plagiarism found as a percentage. For this purpose, the proportion of pages with plagiarism found in the total text pages of a work is calculated.



So far (as of February 10, 2019), as far as known and documented in the VroniPlag Wiki, 78 people have had their doctoral degree and one person has been revoked by the relevant faculty following documentation on VroniPlag Wiki. One person (the Swiss politician Doris Fiala ) lost her “Master of Advanced Studies” degree. In two other cases - that of the politician Wolfgang Dippel (CDU) and the television actress Sarah Sophie Koch - (attempted) withdrawals were made after parallel university studies before the analysis results were published on the main page of the Wiki.

Among the first concerned authors are the following well-known persons (sorted by date of notification of the withdrawal):

Further withdrawals are noted on an overview page in the VroniPlag Wiki. On June 19, 2012, Nomos - and UTB-Verlag withdrew a recently published introduction to legal working methods under Bernd Holznagel as main authorship due to plagiarism allegations from VroniPlag Wiki. The PhD thesis by another co-author of the study book was subsequently taken out of the market by Nomos Verlag in June 2012. From July 2012, the dissertations of both co-authors were examined by the law faculty of the University of Münster , in May 2013 the doctoral degree was revoked in both cases.

No withdrawal, but some misconduct proven

In the case of the following seven people (as of October 30, 2019), the faculties assessed the plagiarism allegations raised by VroniPlag Wiki as insufficient for a closer examination of the work or the withdrawal of the academic degree. In six of these cases, however, technical defects , irregularities or scientific misconduct were found (sorted according to the date of the announcement of the decision of the faculty):

  • November 24, 2011 - Ulf Teichgräber (doctor)
  • December 22, 2011 - Patrick Sensburg (CDU)
  • April 21, 2012 - Nalan Kayhan (Medical Doctor)
  • June 12, 2012 - Detlev Dähnert (Manager at Vattenfall)
  • January 18, 2013 - Jürgen Goldschmidt (Mayor of Forst) - (On May 7, 2015 Goldschmidt returned his doctoral degree to the TU Berlin.)
  • February 7, 2013 - Daniel Volk (FDP)
  • March 9, 2016 - Ursula von der Leyen (CDU)
  • October 30, 2019 - Franziska Giffey (SPD, Federal Minister)

A user of the VroniPlag Wiki started the blog schavanplag , which reveals the extent of the plagiarism in Annette Schavan's doctoral thesis , after the VroniPlag Wiki had decided not to publish the plagiarism allegations. Schavan's doctorate was later withdrawn because of the "offense (s) of willful deception through plagiarism" and she resigned as Federal Minister for Education and Research .


VroniPlag's party affiliation of the people with a checked university script

In the case of Veronica Saß's dissertation, the GuttenPlag Wiki discussed whether there is a public interest in the public documentation of a fraud case in a dissertation even if the author is not a politician or “person of public interest”. It was pointed out that the wiki was primarily known to "violations of copyright and rules by conservative and liberal politicians". “That would, however,” according to Heise online , “be difficult to enforce from above with an open wiki.” Nevertheless, critics accused VroniPlag Wiki of being politically motivated and assumed “that the members feel they belong to the left milieu ". VroniPlag contributors, however, disputed a political objective of the project. With the investigation of the doctoral thesis of a former Juso district chairman, VroniPlag began investigating the doctoral thesis of an SPD member for the first time in early June 2011.

One of the most common allegations is against contributors' anonymous behavior. Those involved in VroniPlag justify their anonymity by stating that “in science it doesn't matter who says something. It only depends on what is said in itself ”. In addition, professional disadvantages and intimidation are feared, especially among VroniPlag contributors who are themselves scientists. One of the activists at VroniPlag Wiki, Debora Weber-Wulff , commented on some points of criticism in an interview.

Criticism is still based on the assumption of a lack of legal certainty against allegations of plagiarism; the question of limitation periods arises . However, the courts deny that there is a lack of legal certainty and the corresponding limitation periods. It is further argued that VroniPlag regards its citation rules as the only binding ones and ignores that these rules have changed over time. The motivation is compared to the “idealism of pensioners who write down illegal parking”. Here too, however, the courts determine that it is not a peculiar offense, but fraudulent acts of deception , sometimes breaking an affidavit . Citation rules have not changed afterwards, rather "verbatim acquisitions are to be identified as such".


  • Zedler Prize for Free Knowledge 2012 in the External Knowledge Project of the Year category , awarded by Wikimedia Germany .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Statistics . In: VroniPlag Wiki . Retrieved February 10, 2019. 36,395 pages of content.
  2. User directory . In: VroniPlag Wiki . Retrieved February 10, 2019. 217 users with more than five edits.
  3. Development of the number of articles in the VroniPlag Wiki until March 2013
  4. Stefan Weber : VroniPlag Wiki works - a first small Plag Wiki balance sheet . Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  5. a b c “Cover your sky, Zeus, / With cloud mist” - even learned quotations do not offer any protection against the disclosure of plagiarism. VroniPlag Wiki. Press release of April 5, 2011.
  6. Christiane Hoffmann: After "KT" now "Silvana". Plagiarism allegations against Koch-Mehrin. faz.net, April 16, 2011, accessed September 20, 2012 .
  7. Presentation of the foundation on Vroniplag.de in project development . Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  8. Version history from de.vroniplag.wikia.com < accessed on August 26, 2012
  9. VroniPlag founder: "I want to take this into my own hands" . In: Spiegel Online , August 4, 2011.
  10. a b Report 20110419. Joint documentation of plagiarism in the dissertation “Historical Monetary Union between Economy and Politics” by Dr. Silvana Koch-Mehrin, published in Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden 2001 (PDF) VroniPlag Wiki. Report of April 19, 2011 (PDF, 422 KB).
  11. a b Withdrawal of academic degree , VroniPlag Wiki.
  12. Jennifer Kalischewski: Plagiarism allegation: University of Düsseldorf revokes TV pedagogue Koch's doctorate . Neue Ruhr / Neue Rhein Zeitung, March 18, 2015
  13. VroniPlag report on the dissertation by Silvana Koch-Mehrin
  14. ^ VroniPlag report on Matthias Pröfrock's dissertation
  15. VroniPlag report on the dissertation of Bijan Djir-Sarai
  16. ^ VroniPlag report on the dissertation of Georgios Chatzimarkakis
  17. ^ VroniPlag report on the dissertation of Prof. Margarita Mathiopoulos
  18. ^ VroniPlag report on Siegfried Haller's dissertation
  19. VroniPlag report on the methodology of Prof. Dr. Bernd Holznagel, Dr. Pascal Schumacher and Dr. Torsten Ricke
  20. Roland Schimmel: Copy and paste: We strongly advise against such a procedure. In: Legal Tribute Online. June 20, 2012, accessed February 16, 2019 .
  21. Stefan Bergmann: Law Institute gets caught up in plagiarism . In: Münstersche Zeitung of July 7, 2017 ( Memento of October 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  22. ^ Günter Benning: Plagiarism allegations against the Law Institute of the University of Münster. In: Westfälische Nachrichten. July 10, 2012, accessed February 16, 2019 .
  23. ^ Faculty of Law revokes two doctoral degrees. In: WWU Münster. May 29, 2013, accessed February 16, 2019 .
  24. VroniPlag report on the dissertation of Dr. Ulf pond graves
  25. m.morgenpost.de
  26. VroniPlag report on the dissertation of Prof. Dr. Patrick Sensburg
  27. derwesten.de
  28. VroniPlag report on the dissertation of Dr. Nalan Kayhan
  29. PLAGIAT REPEALS Doctor keeps doctorate ( Memento from May 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  30. VroniPlag report on the dissertation of Dr. Detlev Dähnert
  31. neue-deutschland.de
  32. pressstelle.tu-berlin.de
  33. pressstelle.tu-berlin.de
  34. de.vroniplag.wikia.com
  35. nordbayern.de
  36. A critical examination of the dissertation by Dr. Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen: C-reactive protein as a diagnostic parameter for the detection of an amniotic infection syndrome (sic) in the case of premature rupture of the bladder and therapeutic relaxation bath in preparation for birth , VroniPlag
  37. Lena Greiner, Matthias Gebauer, Verena Töpper: That is why von der Leyen is allowed to keep her doctorate . Spiegel Online , March 9, 2016
  38. A critical examination of the dissertation by Dr. Franziska Giffey (nee Süllke): Europe's way to the citizen - The policy of the European Commission on the participation of civil society
  39. schavanplag.wordpress.com
  40. spiegel.de
  41. spiegel.de
  42. dapd / BMO / cb: VroniPlag founder defends himself against allegations. In: Hamburger Morgenpost from August 5, 2011
  43. ↑ The VroniPlag founder's career is slowly coming to an end. In: Welt Online from August 4, 2011.
  44. Peter Mühlbauer: FDP overtakes CDU in doctor dominoes. In: Heise online . June 8, 2011, accessed June 21, 2011 .
  45. ^ A b Felix Disselhoff: The Wiki Club, before the doctors tremble. In: Meedia. May 12, 2011, accessed June 21, 2011 .
  46. How sloppiness becomes suspected lto.de, July 15, 2011.
  47. Michael Spreng: The Hunters Must Face , May 17, 2011, accessed on April 17, 2013
  48. Alexander Alvaro (FDP): Who is behind VroniPlag? , May 17, 2011
  49. Oliver Trenkamp: Anonymous plagiarism hunters: I am the swarm . In: Spiegel Online , April 20, 2011.
  50. ^ Gregor Boldt: Who are the doctoral hunters behind VroniPlag , May 11, 2011, accessed on April 17, 2013
  51. The tip of the iceberg? In: Research Teaching , 7/13, August 8, 2012 forschung-und-lehre.de ( Memento from October 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  52. ^ A b c Hermann Horstkotte: Wissenschaftsplagiate. Blackened by Vroniplag. In: The time. August 29, 2011, accessed August 30, 2011.
  53. See most recently Cologne Administrative Court, 6 K 6097/11 of March 22, 2012 and Cologne Administrative Court, 6 K 2684/12 of December 6, 2012.
  54. So Cologne Administrative Court, 6 K 6097/11 of March 22, 2012 with references to similar decisions by other administrative courts.
  55. Zedler Prize for Free Knowledge. Michael Gessat reports in the web show about the award ceremony from Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. Wissen.dradio.de , July 2, 2012. See also Wikipedia: Zedler Prize 2014