Frontiers and Robert-Jan Smits emails reveal how Plan S was conceived – For Better Science

Guess what. After pestering the EU Commission and the European Ombudsman for exactly NINE months (since November 2018) the baby is born and I got the emails between the former EU Special Envoy for Open Access (OA), Robert-Jan Smits, and the Swiss, Lausanne-based, OA publisher Frontiers, namely its CEO Kamila Markram, who founded Frontiers together with her husband, the EPFL professor and brain simulator Henry Markram.

I previously published an analysis of same emails where, aside of addressee, sender and date only the subject line was made available. That was enough to establish the influence of Frontiers over Plan S conception. The finally released emails are still heavily censored yet even more revealing. We learn that the Frontiers vision of the OA future mediated to Smits neatly translated into what became on 4 September 2018 his Plan S, with one initial exception: The caps for Article Processing Charges (APC) were put in place, though not specified. Much of the email exchange between Smits and Markram was about APC caps, which the latter protested against, so the free market and innovation are not impeded. Frontiers highest APC is currently at €2440 or $2950, and Markram conceded to Smits to accept a cap of €3000. Soon after Plan S was announced, Smits turned to speaking of caps as not being necessary; at the revised Plan S, all talk of capping APC ended.Plan S was designed to flip scholarly publishing first in Europe, then in the world, to full OA, by banning all scientists from publishing in subscription journals and even by punishing them for attempting to do so. That is, all scientists who receive funding from Plan S-subscribing cOAition S members of national and EU funders as well as charities. Learned societies were ordered to flip their journals to OA and to cease using the publishing revenue for any outreach, training and community activities not directly related to publishing….”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

Who is Coko? An interview with Coko Co-founder and visionary Adam Hyde : Collaborative Knowledge Foundation

The Scholarly Communications sector can learn a lot from open source and open processes. For example, at Coko we don’t actually own anything. It is the community that owns it. We facilitate the communities success and their success is our success. We share everything we have with them – code, methods, processes, PR, expertise, funding, successes, coffee! – and they in turn share those things with us. We are the community, the community is us. That can only happen in an environment of trust and trust is what openness – the core ingredient to best practice open source – is all about. If more people within the Scholarly Communications sector at large can learn to work like this then they will benefit from it greatly….”

Knowledge Futures Group: An interview with Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press – The Scholarly Kitchen

The MIT Knowledge Futures Group is a new joint venture of the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab. Its ultimate goal is to help build a more sustainable scholarly publishing ecosystem. As we grow — adding resources, new staff and now new advisors — we’re looking to accelerate the path from research breakthrough to application and societal benefit, developing tools that enrich and fortify our knowledge infrastructure. At the same time, we’re trying to galvanize a real movement towards greater institutional and public investment in that infrastructure, by serving as a model for it and partnering actively with aligned initiatives. It’s worth pointing out that MIT has a strong track record in homegrown knowledge infrastructure. It is, after all, the birthplace of Dspace and Open Courseware….”

Detroit Management Summit : Collaborative Knowledge Foundation

It’s the beginning of a new chapter in the Coko story, and we are writing it together in Detroit, Michigan ahead of the Association of University Presses meeting, which we will attend and present at. We, of course, are Coko’s new management team, Adam, Jure and I. Together, we are discussing the structure of the organization and our offerings moving forward….

We are streamlining Coko. In the spirit of our signature transparency, we are sharing these early ideas with you. Moving forward, we will align Workflow Sprints and all Coko’s current activities such as developer workshops, open source consultancy and events around PubSweet. Editoria will continue to be a community-led project participating in the PubSweet Community, along with Hindawi’s Phenom, eLife’s Libero, micropublications.org and other platforms developed or developing with PubSweet. Wax, XSweet and Paged.js will be part of Cabbage Tree Labs (stay tuned for more on this soon)….”

Invest in Open Infrastructure: An Interview with Dan Whaley – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Dan Whaley from the Invest in Open initiative answers questions about what IOI is doing, and sets a broad context for the global effort….

Open infrastructure is the solution to all this.  For me, open infrastructure is simply shorthand for technology in which the incentives to collaborate and work together are built in by design. That includes elements like open source software, open APIs, open data and open standards, but more fundamentally it’s a mindset in which your reward — either personal or organizational — comes from working together as a community for the benefit of all.  

As someone who is product focused, a question I always try to ask is what is the best user experience, regardless of who owns which piece? Does what we’re implementing actually make it easier for people to accomplish their goals? Closed systems often make decisions simply for the sake of preventing or restricting access that create terrible experiences and result in lower utility. Open systems do this too sometimes, but at least the inherent motivations are more likely to be aligned….”

Plan S Ambassadors are Announced | Plan S

“cOAlition S is thrilled to have the support of a group of independent experts active in the research community. Convened by the cOAlition S Leaders Group, Plan S Ambassadors act as local points of contact for discussions and advice about Plan S and its implementation. Ambassadors will also listen to the concerns of the research community and relay these back to cOAlition S. Click here to discover the Ambassadors and read their biographies. …”

H.H. Barschall

In retirement, Barschall took up the cause of the high cost of scientific journals and the detriment to scientists. His research sparked an international legal battle and he was sued by German, Swiss and French publishing houses.

His studies of journal pricing were generally supported by the courts and made him a hero to a generation of research librarians. In 1990, The Association of Research Libraries gave him a special citation for this efforts. See http://barschall.stanford.edu/ for related information….”

Interview with Alex Shkor of the Decentralised Research Platform DEIP | Eurodoc

Can you imagine a science that is totally open and accessible to the global scientific community and general public: where all research metadata and data is open; where collaboration across disciplines and countries happens instantaneously; where papers are written and reviewed openly and then published without embargoes in Open Access; and where researchers are financially and impactfully rewarded for all of their scientific activities?

Welcome to the new decentralised research platform DEIP! We started out as a team of decentralised systems scientists and professionals, who were working in Information Technology companies, and decided to fundamentally change the way science is funded, conducted, and rewarded so that researchers themselves co-determine the process. DEIP was founded in 2017 and is currently being beta-tested….

DEIP is an online decentralised research platform for and governed by researchers. The platform offers three essential features:

  • Open Access publishing of research papers
  • Open Peer Review of draft research papers
  • Open Funding of research project applications

DEIP enables researchers to work together and assess research projects and papers in an open environment that rewards all of their scientific contributions. The platform is built on blockchain technology and consists of a decentralised network. This means that DEIP is neither owned by the DEIP team or any other centralised body. The platform is designed to be governed directly by the scientific community so that they can define the activities and future of the platform as well as distribute funding….”