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.
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.
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).
I finally succeeded to interview the only woman among Human Brain Project leaders, the scientific director Katrin Amunts. In my previous article, I published a non-interview, using bits from HBP website as stand-in for her answers. Now, in this long read, Professor Amunts provided me with her replies.
This is Appeal by several European scientists protesting against Plan S, recently revealed by the EU and a coalition of European research funders. Lynn Kamerlin and her coauthors worry that Plan S will deprive them of quality journal venues and of international collaborative opportunities, while disadvantaging scientists whose research budgets preclude paying and playing in this OA league. They offer instead their own suggestions how to implement Open Science.
I was keen to interview the only woman among Human Brain Project leaders, the scientific director Katrin Amunts. In November 2017, she agreed to do an interview by email. In March 2018, Amunts announced that “the manuscript already has a veritable size of several pages”. She never contacted me since. This is therefore a non-interview.
Janine Erler is a star of Danish cancer research, funded by ERC. Her earlier research led to the discovery of the key role of the enzyme lysyl oxidase in cancer metastasis and brought the scientist and businesswoman very close to curing cancer. Until some sad envious bad-wishers found duplicated gel bands in Erler papers.
Imagine you are Martin Birchall, laryngologist and ENT surgeon, star of regenerative medicine at UCL and trachea transplant enthusiast. You and your business partner Videregen need to explain to EU bureaucrats why your technology of decellurised cadaveric trachea is perfectly safe, what with all the dead patients of yours and your former best friend Paolo Macchiarini. Yet both your trachea transplant pigs die. EU authorities however accept this as proof that your method is safe!