University and Montenegrin government ‘ignored evidence of science minister’s plagiarism’, minister may go

The relevant authorities in Montenegro have ignored evidence of possible plagiarism by the science minister there for up to two years, according to the president of the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, Momir Djurovic.

He says that documents showing suspicion of plagiarism by the minister were sent to the academy as far back as two years ago. The academy has passed these on to the relevant authorities but with no reply, he says.

“Two years ago the academy warned the prime minister in writing,” he says. “And around a year or so ago, we also sent the documentation [detailing plagiarism] we received anonymously to the rector of the university where she is a professor.”

But there was no official reply, he says. “We did not judicate,” he says, adding it was not the academy’s business to react, but only to report the allegations to the relevant institutions.

He said he would resign if the same suspicions arose about his work, and added that it was clear from the documents that the paper in question is plagiarised.

The minister has not denied the accusations or offered to resign yet – but she may leave the ministry anyway, according to local news outlets.

Sources suggest that in the upcoming restructuring of the government, the science ministry will be absorbed by the education ministry, and Vlahovic will lose her seat. Djurovic also says this is likely.

She will still have her professor position to go back to, though.

Did the rector and the government receive the original accusations and did they do anything about them? I have e-mailed them for comment and await the answer.

*Update on 27/9/2014 The University Mediterranean told me in an e-mail that they “did not get an official letter from the academy of science with documents showing plagiarism” and that they “established commission with obligation to test the facts”. The government replied to my e-mail but did not address the specific questions.

This post originally appeared on Retraction Watch

Mićo Tatalović

Science journalist at New Scientist
Mićo Tatalović is environment and life science news editor at New Scientist magazine. He is also the chair of the board of the Association of British Science Writers and is actively involved in promoting science journalism in South-East Europe.
He runs the EuroScientist blog Balkan Science Beat.
Mićo Tatalović

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