Existing software tools are not sufficient to detect scientific plagiarism, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.
Debora Weber-Wulff, an informatician in Berlin, says that human beings are better than computers at detecting plagiarism in scientific texts. Software can detect strict copy-pasting only, while people can spot paraphrasing, poor referencing, or the copying of argumentative structures, the newspaper says.
For example, former German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was found to copy the work of other authors in his PhD thesis. Plagiarism software detected that about 5 per cent of his thesis was copied, while the people who studied the case said that about two-thirds of the text was not Guttenberg’s.