The Curious Case of Hans Werner Gottinger
| Peter Klein |
From Joshua Gans I learn that Research Policy has officially retracted a 1993 article by Hans Werner Gottinger which copies substantial passages from a 1980 article published in the Journal of Business. A lengthy editorial in the September 2007 issue of Research Policy explains the case. Apparently Gottinger is a serial plagiarist who has regularly copied material from previously published papers, without acknowledgement, and has falsified his CV by listing positions and affiliations with universities and institutes that never existed or never employed him. This article in Nature provides details (the Research Policy editorial will be gated for some readers).
The entire incident is very sad, and suggests that academic dishonesty may be much more common than is usually thought. One low-cost suggestion for improvement: publishers should check key words and phrases from every paper — or even the entire text — against the archives from Google Scholar, JSTOR, Google Books, and other full-text databases of academic publications. That won’t catch everything, but will likely catch at least some cases. Surely the Google cache has made life harder for plagiarists. (Students, beware!)