Publisher drops claim of plagiarism

Academic is thought to have threatened legal action over accusations, writes Zoë Corbyn

October 8, 2009

A Greek academic has succeeded in getting a UK journal to nullify two accusations that he plagiarised work, following what is understood to be a threat of legal action.

The case concerns two papers by Christos Negakis, associate professor in the department of accounting and finance at the University of Macedonia in Greece, which appeared in the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Managerial Finance, published by the UK-based Emerald Publishing Group, in 2005 and 2006.

Following their publication, Emerald issued statements suggesting that both contained "substantial passages" of plagiarised text, and said it would not accept any further submissions from the author.

Emerald listed three papers it said Professor Negakis, who was then based at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, had plagiarised in his 2005 paper, "Accounting and Capital Markets Research: a Review".

It also listed two papers from which it claimed "substantial passages" had been used without reference in his 2006 paper, "The Cash Flow Statement: Implications for the Use of the Direct or the Indirect Method".

The guest editor on the 2005 issue was Professor Negakis himself, and the 2006 issue was guest-edited by a departmental colleague.

The papers - along with all reference to the plagiarism accusations - have now been removed from the online versions of the issues in question. Emerald has said that it does not now consider the professor's papers to have included substantial passages of plagiarised content. It is instead blaming a "communication error" for the omissions of certain references. It is understood to have changed its position following the threat of libel action by Professor Negakis.

Rebecca Marsh, publishing director of Emerald, says in a statement: "While an initial notice was posted on the website, this was later removed following a comprehensive review with the author. It was identified that certain references in the author's works had been omitted from the published articles due to a communication error. As a result, Emerald removed the articles from the electronic database so that they could be correctly referenced by the author and resubmitted.

"As far as we are concerned, the matter is now closed."

The articles have not yet been resubmitted, she adds.

It is understood that Professor Negakis was due to be promoted to a full professorship last month, with his CV listing a forthcoming paper in Managerial Finance, although Emerald refused to confirm this. Professor Negakis declined to comment.

zoe.corbyn@tsleducation.com

WORD FOR WORD

This passage appears word for word in both Professor Negakis' 2005 paper, "Accounting and Capital Markets Research: a Review", and an earlier paper, "Capital Market Research in Accounting" by S.P. Kothari, published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics in 2001.

It is one of a number of passages that appear in identical or similar form in both papers without reference.

"The CAPM predicts that a security's expected rate of return is increasing in the covariance risk of its cash flows, which is the covariance of a security's expected return with the expected return on the market portfolio. Therefore, a portion of the cross-sectional variation in security returns is due to differences in the covariance risks of the securities.

"This risk-related variation in returns is generally not of interest to researchers who focus on firm-specific accounting information and its relation to the firm-specific component of the stock return."

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