[En français ici]
It may be due to the Spring break, but I am surprised at the lack of reaction in the media – social or otherwise – about two recent initiatives of the European Community, namely:
– the launch of a call for tenders for the establishment of a public platform for scientific publication;
– the creation of a « EU Open Science Monitor » and the call for consultancy contracts « to determine the open scientific scope, nature, impacts on science and scientific knowledge, and their socio-economic impacts. This […] will provide an evidence-based view of the evolution of open science and should facilitate policy development. »
These are two beautiful ideas a priori, each of which should rejoice.
But, to read better, we discover to each its flats, always regrettable, sometimes scandalous, but revealing of the mentality that reigns supreme in European governance structures and places the economy of profit before the collective interest…
1. The open platform of publication will be reserved for the beneficiaries of hyper-selective financing of the H2020 program. It is certainly an understandable restriction on the part of a funding body, but it is also a missed opportunity to constitute a gigantic open showcase of European scientific production and a solution to the growing problem of scientific publication still sequestered today by the powers of money. It is true that the hyper-powerful lobby of the supranational publishers would never have allowed Europe to make such a defiant gesture towards them.
2. The European Community has decided, in order to build this « public » platform, to appeal to the private sector, by imposing a minimum income of one million Euro during the last two years, which will obviously limit considerably the range of applicants and prevent any public or associative initiative to put itself in the required conditions. We immediately guess who this platform will be entrusted to. Did you say ‘avoid conflicts of interest’?
3. Seeking help to build up the Open Science Monitor and to fuel its reflection, the European Community has chosen to hire a particular competence: that of eminent representatives of academia and research professionals? No. Of all… Elsevier! It is therefore the archetype of carnivorous capital in the field of scientific communication that will put its immense expertise – in the art of fighting by all means the opening of science – at work for a reflection on the future of Research in Europe… Did you say ‘avoid conflicts of interest’?
I know for a fact that « the bigger it gets, the easier it goes » but all the same… These crucial initiatives for European research are so ostensibly locked, padlocked and neutralized even before being issued that the relative silence that accompanies their disclosure surprises me.