Giessen University is examining whether Chancellor Helg Brown (CDU) violated scientific standards in his 2007 doctoral thesis. As the university announced Thursday, allegations of “possible interactions with other scriptures” are being investigated.
These allegations were reported to the university by an individual at the end of January 2021. In addition to overlapping with other literature, the review also pertains to “relationship to a previously published publication with Professor Dr. Helge Brown as co-author,” as stated in the report. “The person in question also asked JLU to review these allegations,” the university said. The newspaper “Gießener Allgemeine Zeitung” had previously reported.
It is not yet possible to know the extent of the allegations and the number of agencies involved. Unlike the cases of Franziska Giffey, Annette Schavan, or Ursula von der Leyen (the latter being Braun Medizinerin), there are no publicly available documents from plagiarism experts.
Nothing is known about the extent of these claims
Upon request, the University of Giessen has provided no additional information other than its official notice about exactly what is meant by “interference with other texts” and “relationship to a previously published publication” with Brown as co-author.
It is possible that the first allegation relates to non-distinctive acquisitions of foreign texts, i.e. plagiarism. The latter may imply that Brown is assumed to have included an essay written with another author in his thesis without explicitly referring to his colleague’s contribution.
The chancellor’s minister and head of the CDU Gießen district association personally commented on the allegations on Twitter. At my request, the university is also verifying reference to a previous partial publication of results from me and other authors in relation to my theses, ”Brown wrote Wednesday evening.
Brown said as well as Gießener Allgemeine Zeitung that he “was convinced of the scientific value of my work and the medical knowledge gained through it”.
A panel of experts from the University of Giessen is reviewing Brown’s thesis in a unified, multi-stage process against potential violations of academic work regulations, as mentioned in the university’s communication.
Initial screening procedures have already been implemented
The university’s ombudsman had already subjected the matter to a preliminary examination and approved the preliminary investigation of the head of the commission to ensure good scientific practice after completing his examinations in February.
The president did a preliminary examination. In this context, Brown has already commented on the allegations confirmed by the Chancellery. The university announced that after receiving the opinion and concluding the preliminary examination in April, the Good Scientific Practice Committee is now mandated to continue the procedures.
Brown received his MD in 2007 at the age of 35. His doctoral thesis dealt with the effect of intraoperative tachycardia (heart palpitations during an operation) on postoperative prognosis. It contains 154 pages.
It has long been known that medical doctoral theses are in principle subject to criticism in the sciences. Early in 2004, the Science Board objected to “preliminary research” in many of these papers, as scientific knowledge of it was low. Despite this criticism, there has not been any fundamental reform of quality standards for PhDs in this topic over the years. (With dpa)