Legal scholar who claimed false affiliations moves on to creating dubious legal yearbooks

In April 2022, Ioannis Kalpouzos, a professor at Harvard Law, received an invitation to join the editorial board of the newly-launched American Yearbook of International Law. But something gave him pause.

“The title sounded a bit dodgy – it sounded like something I should have heard of,” Kalpouzos told Retraction Watch, adding that with some Googling he “found that it wasn’t really a thing.”

“If somebody’s not in the know, it’s easier for them to be duped, I suppose,” Kalpouzos said, but his instincts told him that such a yearbook would most likely be published by an established law review.

So he declined.

Citing our coverage of Liakopoulos from July 2020, Kalpouzos tweeted:

Saeed Bagheri, a professor at Reading Law School in Reading, England, responded by posting his editorial board invitation letter, and several other legal scholars noted they had received similar invitations:   

The title is one of three new journals launched by Dimitris Liakopoulos, a legal researcher who at the time of this writing sits on our leaderboard with 33 retractions

As we’ve previously reported, Liakopoulos had falsely claimed to be a professor at several universities, including Columbia Law School, Stetson University, and various European institutions. In 2020, a representative of Tufts University, where Liakopoulos had claimed to be on faculty, told us that he had never been affiliated with the school

Some of the retraction notices on Liakopoulos’s work cite concerns about his stated affiliations, and they often note plagiarism, such as the note retracting an entire book Liakopoulos co-authored.

Under the auspices of the putative non-profit Center of European and International Justice, Liakopoulos has recently launched the American Yearbook of International Law, the Yearbook of European Union and Comparative Law, and the Yearbook of International & European Criminal and Procedural Law

As yearbooks, the volumes appear annually rather than publishing articles throughout any given year. All three yearbooks have one volume so far, from 2022.

The web site for the Center of European and International Justice states its address as 777 UN Plaza, which is across the street from the United Nations building in New York City. That address is the home of the Church Center for the United Nations, which boasts a chapel regularly used for weddings. 

In addition, the web address for the center includes the clause jimdofree.com. This indicates it is from a web domain service that gives people free online hosting, rather than the .org domain one would expect from a legitimate non-profit.

Besides the dubious affiliation, at least two yearbook articles, both by Liakopoulos, have had concerns raised about plagiarism. 

A PubPeer sleuth notes that one article in the American yearbook lifts from a doctoral thesis originally published in Italian, while an article from one of the European yearbooks pulls text from a previously published Italian paper. 

The yearbooks are published by the National Documentation Center of Greece, a cultural heritage organization sponsored by the Greek government. We contacted the Documentation Center to ask about how they had vetted the reliability of the yearbooks but did not hear back.

We also used the contact email provided on the yearbook web pages (purportedly directed to a person named Sara Cristain) to ask Liakopoulos some questions about the journals.

A few days later, we received a vituperative note from one Klaus Volger, who assured us that the yearbooks are legitimate, citing among other things – all without evidence – the imprimatur of the Greek government. Volger also asserted that no article in the yearbooks is plagiarized, and said that Retraction Watch is only interested in this topic for “money and publicity.” 

Volger, or someone using his name, had responded similarly after our previous posts.

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