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Note: Ratio, Science and Scholars?

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 06 March 26 2019

March 2019

The talk about fake news and alternative facts has died down somewhat, but the phenomenon is still very much around us. Even in academia, I fear. At a recent meeting in the Netherlands, I was shocked by the level of absurdity of arguments used by respected scholars to attack the Plan S which aims to boost open access to scholarly publications.

“Your proposal sketches a new situation different from the present one. Therefore it is contradictory with reality, and therefore it is impossible.”

“What you propose is a change from the present situation. Any change will lead to a period of uncertainty, and this is bad.”

Or even: “I realise now that some of my concerns have in the meantime been met, but I formed by objections when I didn’t know you would solve them – now I stick to the objections and will remain against.”

We are all human and are prone to react – at least in part – from our emotions. But I would have thought that researchers would at least acknowledge the gap between the methodological standards of argumentation and analysis in their research and their much lower standards of reasoning when their direct interests are at stake.

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