Lynn Kamerlin, Bas de Bruin and their colleagues have been the most vocal critics of Plan S from the very beginning, braving continuous opposition from certain OA leaders. Now that final Plan S guidelines were released, the chemists publish this Open Letter expressing their worry about a possible dystopian OA future.
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”. Updates at the end of this article supply evidence that not only Frontiers did advise Smits on Plan S from spring 2018 on, they were the only stakeholder to do so.
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.