Plan S continues to grow momentum, thanks to WHO

I wrote about Plan S when it first came out. I was so pleased to see something with a real timeline, that addressed the right issues (moving to real OA, not fudging with protecting publishers).

The worst thing about Plan S is the name. It shares the same problem as ‘Creative Commons’, in that it doesn’t immediately describe the problem it tries to solve, and at first blush doesn’t establish the seriousness in which it is intended to be taken. I use my next sentence when discussing both to indicate the major players who have adopted them. With Creative Commons, I say that it is the default licence for all NZ Government Publications (see NZGOAL). With Plan S I’m now able to say, ‘it was developed by the European Commission, and supported by lots of funders, including the World Health Organisation‘.

The previous supporters of Plan S don’t normally rate highly in my community it seems. The Research Council of Norway? The Wellcome Institute? All very important for those in the UK and Norway. Very well meaning, I’m sure. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Some rich guy’s way to salve his conscience, so they can be as airy fairy as his whim takes him [1].

The WHO though. That’s hardcore. That’s serious mana, there would have been lots of meetings about that, and some pretty tough academic practitioners to convince. The WHO provide the data on what to study next, and don’t need qualification when citing them. In a medical ecosystem where big pharma solve the problems of the rich, flaccid, and diabetic, and the good guys look to the literally greater good, the WHO are as much on the side of the angels as you can be [2].

So, Plan S gains more momentum. I’m very glad – and I’m thankful for all the hard conversations going on in committee rooms and cafes. When it comes to convincing those around me, the biologists and chemists and engineers, it makes a huge difference.

[1] I know this is entirely unfair the to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but it seems to be a common theme among Apple using academia. Don’t get me started, I use Linux 😛
[2] This is my opinion of what an problematical, naive approach to the industrial medical complex looks like – don’t flame me, unless you’re entertaining about it.

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