One of the UK's most prominent social policy scholars is at the centre of a dispute over the authorship of his unit's research, The Times Higher has learnt.
Peter Taylor-Gooby, who is responsible for judging the UK's entire research output in the field as chairman of the social policy panel for the 2008 research assessment exercise, has been accused by his former research assistant, Anne Daguerre, of failing to properly credit her contribution to work published in his name.
Kent University, where Professor Taylor-Gooby is based, confirmed this week through its lawyers that it had offered Dr Daguerre arbitration over the dispute, with "independent expert advice".
The university earlier said in a statement to The Times Higher that it believed that Professor Taylor-Gooby had acted with "complete professional integrity at all times" and said that it intended to take legal action against Dr Daguerre over her claims.
Dr Daguerre, now a senior research fellow at Middlesex University's School of Health and Social Sciences, worked with Professor Taylor-Gooby for two years between October 2001 and November 2003.
She departed the university after a dispute with Professor Taylor-Gooby and signed a compromise agreement that included a gagging clause.
She had been employed by Kent, with another research assistant, primarily to help with research under Professor Taylor-Gooby's European Union-funded project, the Welfare Reform and the Management of Societal Change.
Dr Daguerre declined to comment, but documents obtained by The Times Higher show that she claims to have co-authored a chapter in New Risks, New Welfare: The Transformation of the European Welfare State , edited by Professor Taylor-Gooby and published last year by Oxford University Press.
The chapter, "The UK - a test case for the liberal welfare state", is credited to Professor Taylor-Gooby and the second of his two research assistants, Trine Larsen.
Dr Daguerre does not seem to have been credited at all in an early proof of the chapter, but she is mentioned in footnotes in the published version as having "contributed papers" to the chapter.
At the heart of the dispute is the question of how much Dr Daguerre was responsible for an internal paper, which was called simply "The UK - a Liberal Test Case", that contributed significantly to the published chapter.
This work also contributed to a paper in the Journal of Social Policy , titled "Market Means and Welfare Ends: The UK Welfare State Experiment", which cites Professor Taylor-Gooby as lead author and does not credit Dr Daguerre at all.
Dr Daguerre claims to have been lead author of the internal paper, but this is strongly denied by Professor Taylor-Gooby.
In a statement last week, the university says that it "believes Professor Taylor-Gooby has acted with complete professional integrity at all times.
"We firmly reject the claim that the chapter... was primarily authored by Dr Daguerre. Together with the book's publishers, we accept that she made a contribution to the chapter and as such is appropriately credited as a contributor."
It later adds: "Kent... will be taking legal action to contest Dr Daguerre's claim to be the primary author of the (internal) paper "The UK - a Liberal Test Case".
"It is our confident belief that Professor Taylor-Gooby, together with Trine Larsen, is the primary author.
"As such, it is unsurprising that there are similarities between the internal paper and the subsequent published journal article."
In a further statement this week, Kent's solicitors Furley Page say that the university is "seeking to resolve the issue" of authorship, adding that "arbitration has been offered to Dr Daguerre".
It continues: "The arbitration process will incorporate independent expert advice and it is confidently anticipated that it will bring a resolution to the dispute."
Furley Page says that the university is awaiting a response from Dr Daguerre on the arbitration proposal and could not comment further.