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TES 'Verified Author' Idea

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by Lead_Practitioner, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Lead_Practitioner

    Lead_Practitioner New commenter

    Hello everyone,

    Many of you will be aware there is a lot of negativity about TES Resources on social media at the moment, driven by a small number of people who are totally against the concept of teachers selling their resources to other teachers (although apparently happy to purchase resources from the likes of CGP and Pearson).

    There is a growing sense of frustration that TES are not doing enough to combat issues of copyright on the site. People are finding their resources being plagiarized or stolen on TES and finding it takes the team a long time to respond or that they do not take action. I'm not criticising the staff about this at all as I know they are working diligently, but this does seem to be the pervading attitude at the moment.

    Therefore I've had the idea that TES introduce a system where the first five resources uploaded by a new author are thoroughly checked and verified by the TES Resources team. TES moderate their forums and will ban members who go against the rules, this needs to happen with TES Resources as well. Once the user has had their five resources checked they are then awarded a 'TES Verified' badge that is displayed on their account and resources.

    Something does need to change as no one on social media is differentiating between authors that spend hours, days and even weeks making one resource, double checking materials for copyright exemption, developing their own ideas, etc and those that cheat or copy.

    Something really tangible needs to happen - at the moment the current processes just aren't enough.
  2. tesAuthorTeam

    tesAuthorTeam Administrator Staff Member TES Authors' forum host

    Hi @Lead_Practitioner,

    The issue of verifying authors is an interesting one - I can't go in to too much detail just yet, but we expect will be requesting some extra information from authors in the next few months as part of some other changes we are making.

    As for checking, and pre-verifying resources in order to give a special status, it's a difficult one without us switching from being a platform to a publisher, which changes our legal status. But it's a really interesting idea there are other approaches.

    On the broader issue of copyright and plagiarism, it remains the case that verifiable reported cases are actually pretty rare when we consider the volume of content shared. In January 2019 there were over 21 million downloads of lesson material on Tes. In the same month we received complaints of copyright problems or plagiarism on 65 resources, 56 of which we removed from the site after investigation, while the remaining 9 were found to be original. That’s fairly typical.

    But it's a matter my team and I take extremely seriously and on which we've done a lot of work.

    In the last year, we’ve introduced:

    • wholly new reporting systems for customers reporting copyright infringement - including “plagiarism” as an option for the first time.

    • new protocols for how the customer services team follow-up on reports, and make decisions about copyright

    • new monitoring, tracking and rechecking of outcomes of cases.

    • introduced a new compulsory Author code setting out even more clearly than our Ts &Cs that authors agree to “Only upload original resources you have created yourself, featuring material that is either your own or correctly licensed”;

    • tougher action against users we found breaching our conditions, including far more frequent bans and withdrawal of access to funds;

    • changes to our royalty system to remove a previous incentive that rewarded teachers for the quantity of their uploads;

    • the creation of a range of online guides for Tes authors as part of a Tes Author Academy offering guidance on best practice around making original material and ensuring content used from other sources is correctly licensed and attributed;

    • the first use of the charity option (where we designate an equivalent amount to a education charity) to make it clear we do not profit from plagiarism;

    • testing of digital fingerprinting systems for material already loaded onto Tes;

    • follow-up interviews with culprits to help us understand what has led them to upload the content and how to prevent it happening with other teachers in future.
    And we're doing yet more on this in the weeks and months ahead.

    What we've not been quite good enough at doing is publicly knocking down the claims by certain teachers on social media that "Tes does nothing" (when every time someone has reported something we have investigated it promptly). So we're changing our approach to that too, as far as we can - though there'll remain frustrating times where we won't be able to comment on cases in progress.

    All the best,

    Michael Shaw
    (Tes Resources director)
    tchristin, MosaiK, nwilkin and 2 others like this.

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