Law review paper yanked for lack of attribution despite offer of co-authorship

Gentian Zyberi, via UiO
Gentian Zyberi, via UiO

Sometimes, retractions seem to have a juicy back story, but the explanation proves tantalizingly out of reach.

Such is the case for a law review retraction on a paper about reparations for human rights violations. After someone complained that author Gentian Zyberi “had not done sufficient justice to the substantial contribution” they made, the complainant refused both a co-author credit and a rewrite of the passages in question, insisting instead on a full retraction.

Here’s the notice for “The International Court of Justice and applied forms of reparation for international human rights and humanitarian law violations”:

In 2012 a complaint was submitted to Utrecht University’s Executive Board alleging a breach of scientific integrity by Dr G. Zyberi with the publication of the above-mentioned article.

This complaint was investigated by the Commission on Scientific Integrity (CWI) of Utrecht University as well as by the National Board for Research Integrity (LOWI). In both cases the conclusion was reached that Dr Zyberi had not done sufficient justice to the substantial contribution which had been made to the article by the person submitting this complaint.

On the basis of the advice by the CWI and the LOWI the Executive Board has determined that Dr Zyberi’s conduct in publishing this article has breached the duty of care which is required by the
Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice 2004/2012.

Dr Zyberi has made a few suggestions to resolve this dispute, including naming the complainant as the co-author or rewriting diverse passages in the article. The complainant is however not willing to cooperate in being named as the co-author. The complainant considers the retraction of the article in its current form to be the only solution to this dispute.

Considering the above the Editorial Board of the Utrecht Law Review has regretfully decided to retract the article.

We reached out to both the journal editors and the author. Zyberi responded tersely:

I have explained myself at length to the relevant authorities.  And I don’t want to talk more about this issue at the moment.

Having learnt a lesson or two from this unfortunate incident, I am trying to focus on my work and plans for the future.

We’ll update if we hear back from the journal.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.