An element of plagiarism was involved in a paper presented at an international conference five years ago, the department head of one of the paper's two authors acknowledged yesterday. City University's building and construction department head Andrew Leung Yee-tak said there were sufficient similarities to justify an allegation of plagiarism between the 1996 paper's diagram and one published in 1992. Polytechnic University's Dr Albert Chan Ping-chuen and co-author Tam Chi-ming of City University have been accused of copying a construction management diagram from a paper entitled 'Project Partnering', published in the Project Management Journal in 1992. Their own paper was presented at an international conference of more than 300 academics in Beijing in 1996. Polytechnic University said yesterday a meeting would be set up with the paper's main author, Dr Chan, to obtain his version of events. 'There should have been an attribution, so there was an element of plagiarism,' said Professor Leung, who added that he knew nothing about the incident until Dr Tam raised it yesterday after a report appeared in the South China Morning Post. But he defended Dr Tam, whom he said was only the second author, adding that Dr Chan should bear most responsibility as the main author. 'It's an accepted academic practice that the second author mainly checks on details and sees whether the arguments are reasonable and valid. He doesn't write the paper,' Professor Leung said. Yesterday, a Polytechnic University spokesman said: 'The university is very concerned about academic integrity and we are setting up a meeting to find out from Dr Chan what actually happened.' He said an ethics committee would investigate if necessary. But before that, Dr Chan would be interviewed at a meeting with senior department members and possibly university officials.