Plagiarism probe sees UK scholar quit Belgian post

March 11, 2010

A British academic has resigned from his post at a Belgian university after being accused of plagiarising the PhD thesis of a member of the Finnish Parliament.

Martin Stone, a professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven, was accused of plagiarism by Finnish Social Democratic MP Ilkka Kantola.

Dr Kantola told The Voice, Leuven's international student magazine, that he was alerted to the matter by Michael Dougherty, an associate professor of philosophy at Ohio Dominican University in the US.

After comparing his thesis, which was published in 1994, with an article by Professor Stone, Dr Kantola discovered that "tens of pages were identical or nearly identical, although my name was not mentioned at all".

Peter Marynen, vice-president for research at Leuven, told Times Higher Education that the university's Commission on Scientific Integrity had investigated the allegation.

The commission submitted a report to Leuven's executive board, which concluded that "the conduct of Martin Stone is highly questionable in terms of scientific integrity".

Professor Stone, who is also a visiting professor at King's College London, resigned from his post at Leuven during the investigation.

Leuven "considers all publications of Martin Stone with a K.U. Leuven affiliation as problematic", Professor Marynen said.

"The university no longer considers these publications as being part of its scientific output and retracts its affiliation with them. All publishers and editors of publications of Martin Stone with a K.U. Leuven affiliation have been formally informed," he said.

Since Leuven's investigation, other academics have come forward with allegations of plagiarism in relation to papers written by Professor Stone.

A King's spokeswoman said the college had established a panel of senior staff to investigate allegations of plagiarism against a former member of staff from the department of theology.

"This investigation is ongoing and we cannot say more until it is completed," she added.

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