Norwegian higher education official overseeing plagiarism crackdown resigns after thesis scrutinized

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A Norwegian official who was charged with overseeing how to combat plagiarism, has resigned over reports that she copied her master’s thesis from a decade ago.

Sandra Borch, Norway’s minister for research and higher education, stepped down last week after a business student in Oslo discovered that parts of her master’s thesis were copied without attribution from a different author, The Associated Press reported. 

Borch has admitted to plagiarizing parts of the thesis.

SLOVAKIA’S GOVERNMENT, LED BY FIERY CRITIC OF UKRAINE AND JOURNALISTS, SURVIVES MANDATORY CONFIDENCE VOTE

Norwegian Minister Sandra Borch

Sandra Borch, Norway’s minister for research and higher education, has resigned over reports of plagiarism related to her master’s thesis.  (Reuters)

“When I wrote my master’s thesis around 10 years ago I made a big mistake,” she told Norwegian news agency NTB. “I took text from other assignments without stating the sources.” 

The student who outed Borch, 27-year-old Kristoffer Rytterager, got upset about the minister’s zealous approach to punishing academic infractions.

Several students were acquitted in lower courts of self plagiarism, by which they lifted sections of their own previous work. Borch then took them to the country’s supreme court

“Students were being expelled for self-plagiarism. I got angry, and I thought it was a good idea to check the minister’s own work,” Rytterager told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said Borch’s actions were, “not compatible with the trust that is necessary to be minister of research and higher education.”

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Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol is also accused of plagiarizing her thesis. She told news outlets that it “should not have happened” and was an honest mistake.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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