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.
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.
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.