At the end of August, the Salzburg plagiarism researcher Stefan Weber once again sent a table to the University of Innsbruck.

Unmarked takeovers in Otto Carstens' dissertation are noted on 37 pages.

In 2010, the Schleswig-Holstein State Secretary for Justice received his doctorate "on the subject of political formation/lobbyism" (Carstens' self-description).

Since then, the Christian Democrat with a Dr.


decorate from Innsbruck.

In a review, Giessen law teacher Steffen Augsberg stated that the writing does not even reach the level of an average seminar paper in undergraduate studies.

Is the dissertation, which was supervised by Waldemar Hummer and Werner Schroeder, exemplary for the quality of supervision or even research achievements at Innsbruck University?

In the period between 2006 and 2021, there were 31 suspected violations of good scientific practice, eight of which related to law, explained Rector Tilman Märk when asked.

He does not break down how often doctoral theses were affected.

Märk emphasizes that the hints often appear to be completely insubstantial and/or arising from a personal motivation even at first glance.

"The motives we had included professional disputes or competitive relationships, personal and sometimes private differences of all kinds, attempts to goof off on a political opponent and the like."

That's amazing, because it doesn't change anything about the plagiarism status and the possible consequences.

Recently, a habilitation could not be positively assessed due to serious violations of good scientific practice.

"In this case, the title was not awarded," emphasizes Märk.

In no case, however, has an academic degree been revoked in the past 15 years.

Data protection and official secrecy

"This puts the university in a special position among the universities in German-speaking countries," says plagiarism expert and law professor Gerhard Dannemann: "Innsbruck does not appear to withdraw any degrees." Now the legal situation in Austria is different than in the rest of Europe.

The perpetrator must be proven that he "cheated" his degree.

According to case law, fraud is intentional behavior.

This intent is shown either in the submission of false information of essential importance with the intention of misleading or the concealment of essential circumstances.

Both must have the aim of achieving success that is favorable to them.

Whether this is the case is judged on the basis of the circumstances of the individual case.

At the University of Vienna, 49 completed procedures led to 27 denials, in other cases the degree was declared "void", which is the preliminary stage of a denial.

This is shown by statistics available to the FAZ.

When asked about the discrepancy with Innsbruck, Märk refers to the lack of nationwide specifications for such lists.

Every university prepares its statistics differently, “if it keeps them running at all”.

A national study should now change this shortcoming, but it has been lying unpublished in the drawers of the Ministry of Education for months.

From Vienna it is said that the study will be presented "in autumn".

However, if you ask Rector Märk about a specific case of plagiarism, which even the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity has commented on, he refuses to provide any information.

In principle, it is not possible to find out how the university reacts to allegations of plagiarism.

It is completely different at the FU Berlin, for example: the published explanations of Franziska Giffey's study now fill volumes.

Innsbruck's rector, on the other hand, refers to data protection and official secrecy.