After five years, is the university community closer to resolving the controversial issue of Sinisa Mali’s doctorate following the decision of the Educational and Scientific Council of the Faculty of Organisational Sciences (FON) on Mali being guilty of “non-academic” behaviour but not of outright plagiarism?
“This is sort of an admission of plagiarism and the public condemnation is, as far as I understand it, a signal to the Rectorate to cancel his doctorate. The majority of FON academic community has practically ascertained that Sinisa Mali has behaved in a non-academic and dishonest manner, that is, that he has copied his doctoral thesis”, Oliver Toskovic of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade says.
Toskovic is part of a group of about 140 professors who signed a complaint against Sinisa Mali’s doctoral thesis and submitted it to the Professional Ethics Committee of the University of Belgrade. The decision of the FON Educational and Scientific Council will be forwarded to the Committee, which will have to make its final decision by November 4th, namely finally establishing if there are any elements of plagiarism in the doctoral thesis of Sinisa Mali.
The Didactic and Scientific Council of the FON adopted the report of the Ethics Commission of the Faculty regarding Mali’s doctorate and established that “he (Mali) behaved in a non-academic manner, but instead of proposing only a measure of public reproach, suggested the most severe measure of a public condemnation of the controversial doctorate.
The history of PhD thesis of Sinisa Mali, who in the meantime became Minister of Finance, has been going on for five years now. The first time, FON decided that the Minister’s thesis had not been plagiarized since only 7% of the thesis’ text had been written without mentioning the source, but the University did not accept the report and sent it back to the FON for a new evaluation.
Professor Toskovic does not think that the academic community is divided on this issue, but that people do not have time to deal with it.
The professor at a European Business School in Germany, Rasa Karapandza, analyzed Sinisa Mali’s doctoral thesis more than five years ago and described it as “one of the worst cases of plagiarism that Serbian public has had the opportunity to see”. After the students from the 1in5 Million Association had blocked the University of Belgrade’s Rectorate for 12 days, in protest against Mali’s doctorate not being declared plagiarism, the University Rector Ivanka Popovic promised that the University would make the final decision on the doctorate by November 4th the latest.
“The university community reacted inertly and disinterestedly,” writes Filip David. “A part of the university community has reacted correctly and demanded that the matter be resolved, while most are disinterested and do not want to interfere with these things as if it were not something that concerns the university; but evidently plagiarism is something that compromises the entire institution,” says David.
This post is also available in: Italiano