The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) has found 33 academics from eight universities guilty of academic fraud after having paid for their names to be associated with areas of academic research. The MHESI said it will also investigate 100 more lecturers believed to have done the same.
Dr Sirirurg Songsivilai, permanent secretary of the MHESI, revealed that 34 universities had run a check on their lecturers to see if any purchases of, or ghostwritten, academic papers were associated with their names.
Eight of 34 universities reported that 33 lecturers committed the malpractice. Dr Sirirurg said the universities are now setting up a committee to probe the matter further.
Moreover, the office of the permanent secretary also looked at an internal database and found there were over 100 university lecturers whose publications require immediate inspection, said Dr Sirirurg.
He added that the MHESI is currently investigating any suspected cases of plagiarism. It is running a check on domestic and foreign universities to scrutinise the ethical violations, he noted.
"The Permanent Secretary Office would like to urge all universities that have not submitted the report to do so immediately. The submission will confirm the university's credibility, and universities should not defend those who have violated ethical conduct," said Dr Sirirurg.
MHESI Minister Anek Laothamatas urged universities to proceed with legal action against any staff found guilty of, or associated with, ghostwriting or plagiarism.
In mid-January, the MHESI ordered all universities to run a check on their lecturers to see if any had purchased academic papers, after cases of ghostwriting were exposed in at least two well-known universities.
The order came in response to a recent report about certain academics who had renamed paid-for reports and 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 for an associate professor, and 13,000 for a professor -- is the likely motivation.
Earlier, Prof Somphong Jitradab, an expert in education, said plagiarism is the result of competition.
The university changed its systems to be more competitive after being pushed out of the government system. He said those systems, pushing universities to ensure they show up on global rankings, required lecturers to come up with more publications.