Recently a group of students have investigated the the alleged plagiarism in the thesis of one of the most famous alumnus's of Glasgow Caledonian University. In one specific case, a crowd-sourced project highlights very convincing evidence of plagiarism throughout the process. Is there any global authority to investigate this type of issue and put it through required legal steps?

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    Usually, the alma mater of the alumni in question should be contacted. They will start an investigation, if the claim is justified (there are some proofs etc.). May 14, 2017 at 22:01
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    (Pet peeve: the singular of alumni is alumnus (also alumna, alumnum), not alumni. Or you can also say "former student".)
    – E.P.
    May 14, 2017 at 23:02
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    The main faulty assumption in this question is that plagiarism and reception of a PhD isn't actually a legal issue at all (in most countries). E.g., in the U.S. there are no laws addressing those issues. It's purely at the independent discretion of the university. May 15, 2017 at 0:44
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    @BasilBourque But none of those things have much of anything to do with plagiarism. Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. May 15, 2017 at 9:08
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    I have removed all identifying information as it is both irrelevant to the question at hand and politically unnecessary. Please do not edit it back in; engaging in edit wars will result in the question being locked.
    – eykanal
    May 15, 2017 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


There is no single global authority that deals with academic plagiarism.

While the current legal system stands, there's no quick and reliable way to prosecute anyone because everyone has a right to defend in court, and court processes are long, tedious and don't always result in a way that you expect. Your question seems to assume that plagiarism should lead to immediate dismissal of the president; this will not happen. Actually, this should not happen without a thorough investigation.

This being said, I sympathise with your cause, but you have little legal ground here. The university has the right to revoke his PhD degree, should the university decide so. If the university does not, it's the reputation of the university that is at stake. You have the right to distribute this information and show that the university officials are caring about politics more than about science.

Also, it is highly unlikely that a plagiarised PhD thesis would get a president of any country to quit. I have been closely following the work of Dissernet, a similar group in Russia that examines PhD theses for plagiarism. While they have uncovered plagiarism in theses of several high-ranked officials, including the Minister for Culture, no one in Russia bothered to admit it, much less quit, zu Guttenberg style.

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    and as per Guttenberg, trial by gutter press is probably the way forward. If the university sees potentially significant damage to its reputation as a result of not taking action they will probably take action.
    – Separatrix
    May 15, 2017 at 9:22

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