New rule to end academic ghost-writing
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New rule to end academic ghost-writing

Community studies now a requirement

Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation. (Photo supplied)
Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation. (Photo supplied)

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI) has approved a rule that college lecturers must cite community-based studies when applying for academic positions.

The new requirement is the result of an earlier report about certain academics who had renamed paid-for reports, claimed them as their own, and even had them published in internationally accredited journals.

According to one report, special academic position compensation -- 5,600 baht for an assistant professor, 9,900 baht for an associate professor, and 13,000 baht for a professor -- is the likely motivation.

MHESI Minister Anek Laothamatas said the rule would provide support to specialised lecturers without requiring them to write textbooks or conduct research. It could be any type of study, from aesthetic-focused studies to innovation studies.

According to Assoc Prof Pasit Lorterapong, the deputy permanent secretary, those who previously applied for an assistant professor role with general criteria can now apply for specified associate professorships.

Specified associated professors, in the meantime, can apply for professorships using general criteria, he added.

Civil servants in the Higher Education Committee have approved the guidelines for the academic position designation and the experts' list written by the MHESI permanent secretary office, which will be published later, said Assoc Prof Pasit.

Earlier, Prof Somphong Jitradab, an expert in education, shared his opinion regarding plagiarism, saying such malpractice is the result of competition.

According to Prof Somphong, the university had changed its systems to be more competitive after being pushed out of the government system.

Those systems, focusing on pushing the universities to ensure they show up on the University World Rank lists, required lecturers to come up with more research and publications.

These are seen as adding weight to their academic credentials and contributing to improving their university's key performance indicator score, which makes the lecturers and their employers look better but also contributes to this kind of malpractice.

He said the issue of "paid-for" reports had been known to Thai academics for a long time and became one of the most concerning "academic crimes" among the circle.

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