Plagiarism allegations against Annalena Baerbock: A question of care

KShortly after his allegations of plagiarism, the Austrian media scientist and self-proclaimed plagiarism hunter Stefan Weber made it clear that he had addressed the question of “possible copyright infringements” in Annalena Baerbock’s latest book, “Jetzt. How we renew our country ”, which was published by Ullstein Verlag on June 21, considers it to be of secondary importance. According to Weber, he scoured the book with the plagiarism software Turnitin and found twelve “plagiarism fragments”, five of which were initially documented in his blog. He published more on Wednesday. “I emphatically emphasize that I am doing this work out of a scientific interest in text genesis and am driven by sensitizing the public to the rampant copy & paste culture.”

Heike Schmoll

Political correspondent in Berlin, responsible for the “educational worlds”.

Weber, who works as a lecturer at the Vienna University of Technology and at the University of Vienna, had said to the German Press Agency: “I have dogged myself into the Baerbock topic because it brings together a lot.” The reason for the review of the book was said to be been the exaggerations in the resume. “The reason that I dealt with the résumé was the burgeoning discussion about Ms. Baerbock’s bachelor’s degree at the beginning of May,” said Weber.

Passages taken from other sources

In fact, Annalena Baerbock took over passages from other sources and made considerable mistakes. She moved the Schengen Agreement to 1995, but it was signed in 1985. There is also talk of border controls in the “EU”, in 1985 that was still the EC. The 2019 Prespa Agreement between Greece and North Macedonia has been postponed to autumn 2018. And of all things, the name of the murdered Walter Lübcke is not spelled correctly.

It’s about a book that was apparently knitted with a hot needle. Baerbock herself shows this in her acknowledgment. She thanks her editor for “clever reading and precise revision – especially since everything suddenly had to go very quickly with the decision to run for chancellor in April,” it says. The book arose from discussions with the journalist Michael Ebmeyer in December 2020 and January 2021. The manuscript itself should be by Baerbock. In her afterword, however, she names 15 employees whom she thanks for “critical counter-reading and clever comments as well as fact checks”. Among them is party colleague Omid Nouripour. The Ullstein Verlag is reluctant to ask the FAZ and confirms the discussions with Ebmeyer. “On the basis of the discussions, Ms. Baerbock wrote the book. Otherwise we do not comment on contractual details or on cooperation with our authors, ”explains a spokeswoman for the publisher.

Generally known knowledge reproduced

Publications that obviously do not want to be an objective contribution to the scientific discourse cannot be measured against the strict rules of scientific honesty, even in the opinion of legal scholars. The Bonn-based copyright specialist Louisa Specht-Riemenschneider told the FAZ: “A copyright infringement only exists if Ms. Baerbock has taken ideas from a copyrighted work without having marked them as quotations or to an unnecessary extent. Of course, not only scientific works are protected by copyright, but if they only reproduce general knowledge without adopting copyrighted texts, this is not a violation of copyright. “

On Tuesday, the Berlin lawyer Christian Schertz, on behalf of the Greens, stated that he could “not begin to recognize a copyright infringement, since the few passages referred to are nothing more than the reproduction of generally known facts and political views”.

Justify yourself quickly with allegations of plagiarism at hand

However, in the recent past the Greens themselves were quickly at hand with allegations of plagiarism when they accused the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment of “plagiarism by the authorities” because the manufacturers’ assessment of independent studies on health hazards caused by glyphosate as “unsuitable” and “not relevant “Had taken over. “If copying or, as the authority calls it, integrating relevant text passages’ is supposedly so common, why is it not at least clearly marked, but instead veiled as much as possible?” Asked the Greens in January 2019.

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The Greens, we heard from Berlin and Potsdam – Baerbock’s constituency – see the allegations as an attack on their integrity and want to lead a fair election campaign. The MEP Ska Keller, who comes from Brandenburg, tweeted: “It’s all about getting people down.” And the state chairman of the Greens in Brandenburg, Julia Schmidt, said: “I want a fair election campaign in which we are about the best content argue, and no cheap character assassination campaigns with baseless allegations of plagiarism. “


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