Pro-democracy scholar Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek dismissed as "politically motivated" allegations he took the credit for others' work in academic papers published over a decade ago.
The City University chair professor of political science denied the accusations, saying that at the time, he had reached a consensus with his research partners that he should be listed as the lead author of the articles.
His former research assistant, Cheng Man-lung, who worked for the professor between September 2002 and January 2003, has complained his former boss took lead-author credit for at least three research papers published in 2003 and 2004, which he says should have gone to Professor Cheng's collaborators.
The university said it would look into the complaint.
Yesterday, Professor Cheng said: "These were joint projects and the mainland co-authors agreed to the arrangement that they would write up the draft in Chinese and I would do the translation and the follow-up editing and deal with the publishers. And it was agreed that my name would go first."
Professor Cheng is also the convenor of the Alliance for True Democracy - a grouping of pan-democratic lawmakers fighting for "genuine" universal suffrage.
"The saga is obviously politically motivated. The projects were done some 10 years ago. I sent the published works to the mainland scholars and there hasn't been any complaints in the past decade. Why is this complaint being made now?"
He added that he had not been in contact with Cheng Man-lung since his contract was ended. "I had almost forgotten him. He might be unhappy because we terminated his contract," said Professor Cheng, who would not be drawn on the circumstances that led to his former research assistant's sacking. He said he had discussed the matter with the university and offered his full cooperation to resolve it.
Cheng Man-lung has denied any political motivation, saying it was about academic integrity.