University ethics committee confirms plagiarism claim against Romania’s interior minister
The Ethics Committee of Babeș-Bolyai University analyzed the PhD thesis of Romania’s interior minister Lucian Bode and found most suspicions of plagiarism to be true. “The ethical violations found are sufficiently important to conclude that the thesis is deeply flawed,” the committee said, according to Hotnews.ro.
The Ethics Committee asks Lucian Bode to correct the thesis and withdraw the book published based on it.
“In the absence of the legal possibility to apply disciplinary sanctions to a person who is not a member of the academic community, the Committee requests corrections to the thesis and the withdrawal of the book published based on the thesis, and the national councils (CNATDCU/National Council of Research Ethics) will be notified for additional steps, under the law,” reads the university’s announcement.
The Ethics Committee said that it analyzed the publicly reported aspects and came to the conclusion that there are two types of deviations from the citation rules in the examined thesis: plagiarism as defined in Law 206/2004 and faulty or incorrect citation in English translations of significant pieces of text.
Babeș-Bolyai University’s decision is available here (in Romanian).
Minister Lucian Bode reacted to the university's decision on social media. In a Facebook post, he said it is "absolutely astonishing to analyze a paper written in 2018 using norms updated in 2020-2022," calling the Ethics Committee's action "an extremely dangerous precedent not only for the academic world but also for the principles that govern the rule of law."
"We are talking about the retroactive application of some rules, a fact that places under the same stigma all works written before 2022. It is a logical fracture and an absurd approach that no one can accept as valid or legitimate," the minister said.
He also defended his PhD thesis, saying that the citation method used was in full accordance with the academic standards when the work was presented in 2018. "The phrase "deeply flawed" is a subjective assessment of the Committee, a value judgment devoid of academic significance, as long as the norms were respected," he said.
"In recent years, my PhD thesis has gone through absolutely all stages of analysis and successfully passed all verification filters," minister Bode explained in the same post.
He also said that he would go forward with the court action against Babeș-Bolyai University's Ethics Committee, as this is "the only fair and legitimate way to resolve this case which has exceeded not only the limits of the law but also of reason."
The Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca started reanalyzing Lucian Bode’s PhD thesis after investigative journalist Emilia Șercan from PressOne published evidence that he plagiarized at least 18.5% of his 2018 thesis, in no less than 65 out of 194 pages and 10,139 words. On January 5 this year, the interior minister filed a lawsuit against the university’s Ethics Committee.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos/George Calin)