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Plagiarism on PhD Level Raises Questions About School's Decisions

A daily reported that when confronted with a possible case of plagiarism on the doctorate level, the Tallinn University of Technology acted in a manner that suggests researchers are quietly allowed to retract their submission and avoid investigation.

It has come to light that the successful PhD defense in the case in question took place in January. Five days later, university officials received a letter from Tallinn University of Applied Sciences faculty member Priit Pärnapuu, who called for a probe.

Pärnapuu is the same individual who discovered a case of plagiarism in a doctoral submission at the University of Life Sciences.

In the current case, work of other researchers was used without citation, there was outright copying and assertions were passed off as statement of fact or general knowledge. A total of 31 percent of the work was intellectual theft, Pärnapuu said.

"I'd say it was clearly much worse than the University of Life Sciences case," he told Postimees.

But the dean offered the researcher a way out and the Ph.D. was canceled. There was no need to investigate or publish results for the university.

University of Technology vice rector for academic affairs Erkki Truve said: "We don't know that it was plagiarism. As the person withdrew the work, he or she must have found there was something that could have been otherwise."

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