The silence of the senators

Professor  Danilo Nikolic, professor  Djurdjica Perovic, professor Irena Orovic, professor Natasa Kostić, professor Boris Vukicevic, professor Dusko Bjelica, Professor Radoje Korac, professor Vesna Kilibarda, professor Sanja Pekovic, professor Predrag Miranovic, professor  Zarko Dasic, professor Milan Markovic, professor Goran Barovic, Dr Radoslav Raspopovic, professor Kemal Delijic, professor Nikola Milovic, professor Spiro Ivosevic, professor Sasa Mujovic, professor Bojan Martinovic, Master Jovan Gardasevic, Sasa Rocen, Jovan Bajramovic, Aleksandar Sipcic and Pavle Malovic.

These are the names of the members of the Senate of the University of Montenegro (UoM) who, at its session on 18 September 2019, according to the available minutes, could not decide on the basis of the Report of the Commission for the conducting procedure of determining plagiarism in the case of Prof. Dr. Bojana Lakicevic Djuranovic whether it was plagiarism. We recommend integral reading of this report, and we particularly highlight the following excerpt from page 5:

“The Commission notes that 97.77% of the articleThe Role and importance of the Court of Justice of the European Union in creating and implementing the EU Law – examples from practice’, published in the journal Pravni život, no. 12/2018, and presented at the conference of Kopaonik School of Natural Law in December 2018, literally matches the graduate thesis for specialist studies of student Djordjije Drincic, titled ‘The role and importance of the Court of Justice in the creating, interpreting and implementing the EU Law’, defended in June 2018 at the Law Faculty of the University of Montenegro in Podgorica, registered and deposited at the library of  Law Faculty and Faculty of Political Sciences, no. SR 1102000026585, and determines taking part of the author’s paper without indication of the author. Therefore, the Commission finds that professor Bojana Lakicevic Djuranovic, in her article published in Pravni život, took over part of an author’s paper – graduate thesis for specialist studies of student Djordje Drincic, without indicating it as someone else’s paper and presented it as her authentic work.

Law on Academic Integrity defines: ‘Plagiarism is the appropriating another author’s paper or part of that author’s paper, other essential scientific findings or their parts, hypotheses, theories, methods, data obtained by scientific research without indication of the author, or the implementation of another similar actions by presenting them as his/her own authentic work, in order to obtain personal benefits’.

The aforementioned senators could not conclude from the Commission’s Report and the definition of plagiarism that this is in fact plagiarism, so they decided that the Report ‘should be amended due to incompleteness, because there was no conclusion in the Commission’s report on whether the actions of professor Bojana Lakicevic Djuranovic have elements of plagiarism.

And if the UoM senators confirmed the Commission Report on 18 September 2019, as they eventually did on 28 October 2019, the UoM would have to fully process this case within its mechanisms. Namely, the Government of Montenegro appointed the Ethical Committee on 26 September 2019, and before the appointment of the Committee earlier mechanisms were on the force.

We leave the public to assess whether it was not clear to the senators that it was plagiarism according to the findings of the Commission or they did not want to solve the problem from their institution within their own institution. In both cases, we express concern that those who do not have knowledge or who have limitations to do their jobs properly manage this oldest higher education institution in Montenegro.

On 9 July 2019, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) published both papers integrally, indicating similarities and differences. Basic State Prosecutor’s Office, on the basis of the CCE’s criminal charge, and after conducting screening, submitted an indictment for the criminal offense of violation of moral rights of author and interpreter. The first court hearing in the case of Lakicevic Djuranovic is scheduled for 5 November 2019 in the Basic Court in Podgorica.

Daliborka Uljarevic, CCE Executive Director