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Converting adversity into productivity

So, 2020 has been off to an interesting start. The “OpenCon saga” pretty much crippled me professionally. I have spent the last 5 months in isolation mode to recover physically and emotionally from that. Thankfully, while this rather vicious and intentional attempt to harm me was quite successful, it also provided me with a brilliant and rare opportunity.

Adversity is a strange concept. We can either let it destroy us, allowing ourselves to be victims to whatever it is that has befallen us. Or, we can reframe it internally and allow it to empower us. The last few months have granted me the space to acknowledge and learn that process. I am grateful that several key and specific individuals have behaved with such hostility and irresponsibility towards me. Establishing a rigorous meditation and exercise routine has helped me to stay calm, rational, and focused in the face of this ongoing difficulty. It challenged me to practice kindness and patience, even when the hurt from was the greatest. I spend each morning meditating on each of those bringing hate and conflict into my life, converting any latent negative thoughts into love, compassion, and forgiveness. It is quite a wonderful internal process. Our greatest teachers, after all, are our “enemies”.

My original plan for recovery from this was to take time off, completely. However, I realised almost immediately that I was quite incapable of doing this. It felt like giving in, like hiding. Instead, I felt compelled to continue to my work, and to channel a newly-found energy mostly into writing. I don’t think I’m the greatest writer, but I can at least write. By the time the rest of the world started self-isolating because of the Coronavirus pandemic, I had been doing this for several months already. I was pretty comfortable with channeling virtually all of my energy inward, and fueling a new conviction for my work.

During this time, many of my collaborations were quite damaged. Individuals who I worked with and considered friends have been lost over this incident. That is the worst thing about what those behind this incident have done: they have poisoned an otherwise wonderful community, and not been held accountable for this, yet. So, for me, this became the perfect time for finishing off existing collaborative research projects. But also, to reinvest focus on others that had been in my mind for some time, but now emerged with a new sense of urgency. Open Science and the shifting role of science in society has become so beautifully emphasised now during the ongoing pandemic. That momentum cannot be wasted.

I found it quite amusing that my first article of 2020 happened to be in an Elsevier journal. But hey, stranger things have happened. I don’t want this to come across that as some sort of boastful display of productivity. I am writing this because I am pretty damn proud of myself for battling through the OpenCon shitstorm, and using this lesson to convert terrible adversity into blossoming creativity and productivity. I cannot think of any other way of being than trying to be our absolute best, even when it is most difficult.

So, here are the research articles/publications that I have worked on and completed since the beginning of the year. Many are editorial-type (E) articles, others are original research articles (R), and others are books (B). I have done all of this without expecting or receiving a penny of payment in return. So, if anyone finds any of this work of value, please consider helping out by either sharing what you find interesting, or even joining my new Patreon. All support is appreciated and gratefully received!

The list

  • E: Open Scholarship as a mechanism for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (preprint DOI).
  • E: Fixing the crisis state of scientific evaluation (preprint DOI).
  • E: On the use of preprints in geochemistry: the good, the bad and the ugly (preprint DOI).
  • R: Open Science in dinosaur paleontology (preprint DOI).
  • E: Time to stop the exploitation of free academic labour (preprint DOI).
  • E: A value proposition for Open Science (preprint DOI).
  • E: How can we achieve a fully open future? (preprint DOI).
  • E: Web of Science and Scopus are not global databases of knowledge (preprint DOI).
  • E: How open science is fighting against private, proprietary publishing platforms (preprint DOI).
  • R: Standardising Peer Review in Paleontology journals (preprint DOI).
  • E: What can scholars learn from Open Source software communities during pandemics (preprint DOI).
  • R: International disparities in open access practices of the Earth Sciences community (preprint DOI).
  • R: Open Access: what we can learn from articles published in geochemistry journals in 2018 and 2019 (preprint DOI).
  • E: Major socio-cultural barriers to widespread adoption of open scholarship (preprint DOI).
  • R: 10 Simple Rules for Innovative Dissemination of Research (preprint DOI).
  • R: The limitations in our understanding of peer review (preprint DOI).
  • R: Ten Simple Rules for Researchers Collaborating on Massively Open Online Papers (MOOPS) (preprint DOI).
  • R: Open Up: A Survey on Open and Non-anonymized Peer Reviewing (preprint DOI).
  • B: The [R]evolution of Open Science (DOI).
  • R/B: A tale of two ‘opens’: intersections between Free and Open Source Software and Open Scholarship (DOI).
  • B: 4 years of PLOS Paleontology (DOI).
  • E: Geoscience in a time of pandemics (DOI).
  • E: Comments on “Factors affecting global flow of scientific knowledge in environmental sciences” by Sonne et al. (2020) (DOI).

Hopefully there is something here for pretty much everyone! Most of them are “preprints” for now, so if anyone, anyone at all, has any thoughts or comments and any of this, all feedback is much appreciated.

Final thought

Adversity is always a teaching moment, if we approach it with a healthy mindset. Be it online harassment and bullying, or say, a pandemic. Each moment is an opportunity for introspection. The more difficult and challenging it is, the more room you have for growth.

Over the last few months, I feel that people have tended to either fall on two sides of a dividing line here: they take responsibility for their own actions, feelings, and words, or they do not.

This pandemic is a catalyst for change, and has granted each and every single one of us this same opportunity for growth. Which side will you be on?

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