The Times Educational Supplement (TES), a weekly trade newspaper from the UK, has launched an astonishing attack on the rival publication, Impact, the magazine of England’s new Chartered College of Teaching (disclosure: Impact is the magazine that recently declined to print an article of mine).
According to Charlotte Santry of the TES, “the latest issue of the journal contains several articles about teaching practice that contain apparent conflicts of interest.”
This seems a little rich, given the commercial interests that the TES itself promotes. For instance, the TES is quite happy to publish sponsored articles, from large multinational companies. They also make money by running an exchange for teachers to sell resources to each other. This has been highly controversial, with many teachers opposed to the principle and some instances where sellers have seemingly passed-off the work of others as their own.
By contrast, Impact has committed the sin of commissioning articles such as a piece by Oliver Caviglioli about the use of visualisers. This is of apparent concern because Caviglioli also runs a website selling visual learning tools.
So perhaps the issue is that this was not disclosed? Not so, according to Cat Scutt of Impact who stated, “The affiliations of authors who write for Impact are clearly included on all articles”.
Instead, the TES seems to object to the way these disclosures are made. They are not apparently industry standard, with publications such as the British Medical Journal displaying a ‘competing interest form’ alongside each article.
I think we should give Impact a break here. It is still a very new publication and is probably working a few things out as it goes. Nevertheless, from the facts available, it appears to have done nothing improper and nothing that warrants this kind of a kicking.
I have no idea why the TES would try to whip this up into something that it’s not.