Complaint and application to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands

Colombia, South America, October 27, 2020

Ingrid van Engelshoven

Minister of Education, Culture and Science

Cordial greetings

We are the blog PlagioSOS, an autonomous portal, an original initiative of research and journalistic information (digital journalism), a citizen observatory, which contributes to the analysis and debate of literary production, which addresses a current issue and general interest: plagiarism.

In the Case Studies section, since 2010, we have presented 51 journalistic investigations, as a public denouncement platform.

We hereby bring to your attention FACTS related to possible plagiarism or copyright infringement in a doctoral thesis in Economics at Tilburg University, the possible institutional negligence and complicity at Tilburg University, Netherlands.


In December 2017, under the direction of Sylvester Eijffinger and Harry Huizinga, Tilburg University approved the doctoral thesis «Four essays on central banking in Latin America under balance of payments dominance» (Tilburg School of Economics and Management, 2017) authored by Colombian Jonathan Tybalt Malagon Gonzalez.

Jonathan Malagon is Colombian Minister of Housing and Professor at the National University of Colombia, Bogotá campus. In both cases, his CV shows his PhD title from University of Tilburg.

In September 2019, Colombian news broadcast “Noticias Uno” journalist Juliana Ramírez presented an investigation of possible plagiarism in the four chapters of Jonathan Malagon’s doctoral thesis.

This information and denouncement of the possible plagiarism in Malagon´s doctoral thesis, was also reported by other Colombian journalists and media:

– Giovanny Quintero (Cuarto de Hora)

– Juan Pablo Barrientos (Caracol Radio)

On April 23, 2020, in the blog PlagioSOS, we presented the Case Study No. 40, entitled «Plagiarism in Jonathan Tybalt Malagon Gonzalez’s doctoral thesis at Tilburg University? Netherlands, Europe», in which we made public documentary evidence (publications and comparative tables) indicating that possible plagiarism or copyright infringement reaches 83.65% of its pages (87 out of 104 pages, 180 paragraphs and 30 tables and charts).

After receiving the denouncement of the possible plagiarism presented by Noticias Uno, through a Declaration of the Executive Board of the University of Tilburg, in September and October 2019, they informed, they were already aware of the denunciation and they would carry out a rigorous investigation. This is what the legislation for the protection of copyright requires.

However, six months later, in March 2020, the Executive Board of Tilburg University reported, they had adopted the recommendations of an external Scientific Integrity Committee, and they determined they couldn’t demonstrated plagiarism because they couldn’t determine who wrote which text, eventought the master thesis writing by Malagon’s students where published before Malagon’s doctoral Thesis.

The external committee textually says, “The CWI finds the actions of the person concerned culpable negligent in light of the principles of honesty and scrupulousness laid down in The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice 2014. By not informing his Supervisors that his students had obtained his permission to write a Master’s thesis on part of the PhD thesis topic and not (explicitly) mentioning either to his Supervisors or in his PhD thesis that he had worked together intensively with students in preparing his PhD thesis he acted culpable negligent. The person concerned also acknowledged that he should have mentioned more explicitly that his students had written Master’s theses under his supervision that were based on his PhD thesis”

On top of this incompressible decision, the measurements from Tilburg University for Malagon´s negligence was that; the Malogon´s PhD thesis should be corrected, by adding an appendix with the explicit reference, as well as a statement per chapter where the students were involved in the PhD thesis preparation.

According to our detailed analysis, the type and extent of plagiarism or copyright infringement detected, is impossible to correct, because of the very nature of the act: plagiarism is not correctable. Despite the fact that Tilburg University and the Netherlands have rigorous and precise legislation (Copyright Act, Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity), the Tilburg directives accepted the recommendation according to which the final version of a doctoral thesis is correctable, a procedure that is not contemplated by academic regulations and legislation.

In two communications, sent in April 2020, we expressed our concerns to the board of Directors of the University of Tilburg, where we also asked for a revision of their decision of last March.

Despite the fact that in these communications, we presented legal arguments, documentary evidence and raised serious doubts about the procedure, illegality of the recommendation of the external Scientific Integrity Committee and the Executive Council of the University of Tilburg, contrary to all evidence, the rector of the University of Tilburg Dr. Sijtsma, by email dated June 5, 2020, without specifying them, told us that these aspects had already been considered and dealt with by the external Scientific Integrity Committee and the Executive Council of the University of Tilburg. In the same month of June, we proposed to the rector of the University of Tilburg that, in accordance with the rules and legislation, after completing a rigorous academic process, a final doctoral thesis report can not be corrected.

Almost a year has passed since the public denunciation of Noticias Uno, also the same time that the directors of the University of Tilburg announced to carry out a rigorous investigation. Six months have passed since the Communiqué of the Tilburg directives where they ordered the correction of Jonathan Malagón’s doctoral thesis. This has not happened and will not happen, because plagiarism itself, cannot be corrected, even less one so disproportionate.


We hereby request that the Board of Directors at the University of Tilburg should be investigated for possible lax, permissive and complicit conduct, in this case, which has allowed institutional impunity.

In addition, we kindly request that the case to be transfer to the corresponding instance in the Netherlands and / or the European Union so that the corresponding investigation is carried out regarding possible plagiarism in Jonathan Malagón’s doctoral thesis.

Thanks for your attention.

Plagiarism PlagioS.O.S

Plagiarism Blog


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