Plan S, designed by the former EU Commissioner Robert-Jan Smits, became a complete and chaotic mess where everyone, including the members of the signatory cOAlition S of research founders, does whatever they want. I learned all that while participating at the Academic Publishing Europe (APE) conference in Berlin, on 15-16 January.
Ariel University is a settlers’ university, located outside of legal Israel borders. What Ariel lacks in academic performance or even official recognition, it makes up in support from right-wing politicians. This post addresses the scientific qualifications of Ariel’s rector Michael Zinigrad. Or the pretence thereof.
Frontiers is a somewhat unconventional open access publisher, which likes to have it both ways: playing scientific elite while accepting almost anything from paying customers. My regular contributor Smut Clyde will tell you below how some anti-vaccine scare-mongers managed to sneak in some rather dangerous works thanks to Frontiers’ unofficial “we don’t judge, we just charge” quasi-policy.
The last act of the Ashutosh Tiwari travesty at Linköping University (LiU) in Sweden took place. Tiwari, the fake professor and master of predatory conferences, tripped only over his vanity of gift co-authorship on 3 papers by his Allahabad mate Prashant Sharma, a shameless nanotechnology data faker with presently 26 retractions.
I obtained from the EU commission evidence that Smits was at least strongly influenced by Frontiers while designing Plan S. There were meetings with Kamila Markram and other Frontiers representatives, most notably on 25 April 2018, and a string of emails, where Smits requested and received “Frontiers feedback on the transition to OA and APCs”. Smits recently accepted the invitation as speaker next to Kamila, at a Frontiers-organised conference on 29 November 2018 in Brussels.
Two and a half years after Maria Fousteri was found guilty of scientific misconduct by her former employer, the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), exactly nothing at all happened. ERC and Molecular Cell ignored LUMC letters from June 2016, while Fouster’s British co-authors interfered to save own papers. Of 4 scheduled retractions, none took place.
A new Open Letter against Plan S appeared on the internet. Presently over 600 scientists are protesting against what they see as a bit totalitarian Open Access initiative by Robert-Jan Smits and his partners from Science Europe. Among the Open Letter signatories are many early career researchers and tenured academics, including two Nobelists.
Research by German journalists revealed whole lists of German academics engaging in predatory publishing and scamferences. Named on over 60 predatory conference papers is Bernd Scholz-Reiter, Rector of the University of Bremen and former Vice-President of DFG. Several such papers are even self-plagiarised, and were used in DFG project reports and Scholz-Reiter’s rectorship application from 2011
I obtained a near-verbatim transcript of a video-conference Plan S architects Robert-Jan Smits and Science Europe president Marc Schiltz had on October 19th with Lynn Kamerin and other authors of the Appeal. It appears that Smits and Schiltz see the scientists and their scholarly societies as the reactionary elements blocking the road to the universal Open Access (OA).