Blog post about Internet company stock position causes Harvard to change transparency policy in scholarship
Feb 07, 2014 02:17 PM EST
Associate Professor of Business Administration Benjamin Edelman was requested to revise his public disclosure by the Harvard Business School in his blog entry about the stock position on Internet video and advertising company Blinkx Plc. Edelman's entry titled "The Darker Side of Blinkx" detailed how the company used manipulative software to influence traffic and commissions, implying that the company has resorted to illegal means to inflate its company value.
Bloomberg said Harvard's push for additional disclosure indicates a shift in universities in order to protect the integrity of faculty scholarship. With the opportunities presented by the Internet to faculties who wishes to increase their work's impact, getting work published online presented legal problems. As such, the transparency policy of the Boston-based business school has been updated in order to include transparency procedures in blog entries and online academic articles 18 months ago.
The news agency said Harvard Business School's policy regarding conflict of interest requires its faculty to disclose their significant paid and unpaid activities related to their line of work outside of the school to the public to avoid bias.
In an emailed statement pertaining to Harvard Business School's urging to Edelman to amend his disclosure, the school said, "(The professor's first disclosure) lacked clarity (and didn't satisfy the) reasonable reader test (or giving the consumer enough information to) identify potential conflicts and interpret the work product with appropriate care."
Edelman said that despite amending his disclosure in his blog, he said his position on Blinkx remained the same as with its January 28 entry, and that his clients' interest primarily was to learn about Blinkx's business more and not in assuring he tell others.
In the same email, Harvard's chief marketing and communications officer Brian Kenny said, "This is new territory and we are learning as we go -- building case law, providing positive examples as best practices, using outside feedback to determine where we are falling short. Our objectives have been clear from the start: we hope to avoid anything that would discredit the faculty's scholarly work."
Blinkx said in a January 30 statement that it has refuted the assertions Edelman made and denied the conclusions drawn in the associate professor's blog post. The company's stock dropped to over 40% hours after the posting, but seemed to have recovered as its shares increase to over 10% in trading today in London.