16 VUB students accused of plagiarism

This year, 16 students of the Economic and Social Sciences department at the Free Brussels University VUB have been caught cheating when making their thesis. They copied whole parts of other texts to complete their thesis project.

The figures mean that 1 in 20 students in this particular field are involved in plagiarism. This is more than at other universities, but the VUB underlines that they are doing more checks.

The students copied complete sections from other scientific work without making any references. They were caught because the university applies 'double-check' methods instead of just 'check'.

First, a special computer programme is used. Next, professors also carry out a personal check. "This second control phase goes into more detail", explains Lieselot Vanhaverbeke of the VUB.

She gives an example: "The system had indicated that there was not a real problem with a Master thesis of an international student. However, it turned out that a certain document showed strong resemblances with a similar document in his mother tongue. This was discovered through manual checks."