The Free University of Berlin has passed its verdict: the SPD politician Franziska Giffey may keep her doctorate. She had been accused of scientific misconduct.
Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) is allowed to keep her doctorate and thus also her ministerial post. Freie Universität Berlin announced that the university president had unanimously decided to reprimand Giffey for her dissertation, but not to withdraw her degree “Doctor of Political Science.” The decision had fallen after a thorough examination and a several-hour meeting.
The SPD politician had been accused among others of the plagiarism testers of the platform Vroniplag violations of rules of scientific work. Giffey was carelessly dealing with references to sources. According to this, there should have been numerous “blind and false quotations” in the work, in which evidence in footnotes had apparently been taken unaudited. A Vroniplag representative had then spoken, according to the “mirror” of a rather moderate case. The defects complained of are primarily dangerous because it could spread errors.
“Europe’s way to citizens”
Giffey himself had asked the Freie Universität Berlin for an official examination of her doctoral thesis and emphasized that she had written it “to the best of her knowledge and belief.” The FU came to the conclusion that there are deficiencies in the dissertation, but that the overall picture of the deficiencies found does not justify the removal of the doctoral degree.
From 2005 to 2009, the SPD politician obtained her doctorate in political science from the Otto Suhr Institute of the Free University of Berlin. She wrote her thesis on “Europe’s Path to Citizens – The European Commission’s Civil Society Involvement Policy.” Giffey also examined the situation in Berlin’s district of Neukölln, where she later served as district mayor.
In case of a withdrawal she would have resigned
In scientific papers, such as doctoral theses, authors always refer to previous publications by other scientists on the same subject. However, their statements must be quoted correctly in the text as a foreign source and identified in a bibliography.
Giffey can remain as family minister. She had announced in the event of a withdrawal of the title, want to resign. Because of the pending proceedings, she had also waived a candidacy for the SPD presidency, although she was given good opportunities.
“With the decision of the Presidium now clarity is created and I continue my work as Federal Minister for the Family with great commitment and a lot of joy,” said Giffey according to a communication. As a result, the review confirmed that it was right to use the title.
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