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The Former Commissioner and Self-Plagiarism

Ján Figel, a Slovak and former Commissioner for Education of the European Union, faces an investigation for self-plagiarism allegedly committed in his doctoral dissertation, which he defended while he held that post in 2007. According to the Science Insider blog, circulated by the journal Science, the Ministry of Education of Slovakia has opened an inquiry into an accusation that the dissertation had been copied from a book published four years earlier, of which Figel was co-author.

Figel served as commissioner in Brussels between 2004 and 2009 and was responsible for implementation of the Bologna Process, an effort to create a common structure for undergraduate and postgraduate education at European universities. Between 2010 and 2012, he was minister of transportation and deputy prime minister of Slovakia. He obtained his PhD in social service from the St. Elizabeth School of Medicine and Social Service in Bratislava, a private college founded in 2002. The dissertation described the negotiations that led to Slovakia’s admission to the European Union. According to the charge published by the newspaper SME, the text was copied from a book written in partnership with diplomat Miroslav Adamis, who was not given credit in the dissertation. The Ministry of Education will decide whether the PhD is valid and if the school will continue to offer doctoral degrees.