Actually, the topic was tailor-made for Minister of Justice Alma Zadić: Her doctoral thesis from 2017 dealt with “transitional justice in former Yugoslavia”. Zadić must have been personally interested in the topic, after all she fled to Austria with her family in 1994, at the age of ten, during the Bosnian war. Freely accessible on the internet is her PhD thesis. However, those who read them with high expectations will be disappointed – or rather, deceived. A considerable part of Zadić’s remarks on the emergence of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia did not come from her at all, but from other people, without being marked as quotations. This triggers a shaking of the head in the local plagiarism hunter Stefan Weber. Scientifically, his verdict is scathing.
Weber emphasizes: “Dr. Zadić’s work is characterized by a sampling of parts of sentences or word chains from foreign literature, whereby almost always parts of sentences that were taken over literally were not placed in quotation marks.” Weber refers to an investigation that this time not he but the plagiarism researcher Katharina Renner did and then presented to him. Conclusion: Renner came up with 85 unmarked citations in the doctoral thesis of the current Minister of Justice.
For the media scientist Stefan Weber it is clear: “The work is certainly not scientifically correct. It is systematically misleading for the reader, because one does not know with any sentence: what is from Ms. Zadić, what is from someone else.” This clearly violates the basic rule of distinguishing one’s own from someone else’s intellectual property – “systematically. The author makes it far too easy for herself with this method. It is not scientific work if I only paraphrase sentences by other authors.”
To cite correctly means to write verbatim quotations in quotation marks and to cite the sources. If both are missing, it is plagiarism, only the quotation marks are missing, as with Zadić, that is at least wrong. Opinions differ as to whether it is plagiarism in the strict sense of the word. Weber is lenient here: “I am not accusing Ms. Zadić of plagiarism,” he says. “Strictly speaking, I would not believe that Dr. Zadić speak, but certainly of systematically wrong citation. The literal adoption of phrases is misleading and wrong.” Zadić pretends to explain statements by other authors in his own words. But it doesn’t do that: It simply takes over parts of sentences with minimal word rearrangements. In 23 cases, not even the sources she cited are correct.
The plagiarism expert Manuel Theisen, longtime dean at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, takes a hard stance on the Austrian Minister of Justice. “In general, I consider the work of Mr. Weber to be very commendable, very thorough and, in view of what I know, always very convincing,” he emphasizes. Although he has not looked through Ms. Zadic’s entire dissertation, looking at the passages that Weber submitted to him, he comes to an even stricter verdict: “If I look strictly at the form, I would tend to describe them as text plagiarism.” Theise is a promotions expert for fraud, plagiarism and forgery. edition published. For 35 years he has been one of “the” experts when it comes to “scientific work”.