In memoriam of Jon Tennant (1988-2020)

We will remember April 2020 as days of uncertainty and tragic losses worldwide. In this extraordinary time, we do not only mourn victims of the pandemic. Just as incomprehensibly, on the 9th of April we lost Jon Tennant, a bright and tireless pioneer of Open Science and democracy in access to knowledge. Jon inspired many of us to dare to stand up and commit to the values of innovation, transparency, accountability, equity, digital sovereignty and social-cognitive justice in knowledge creation and pursue them in our own scholarly contexts, and beyond. Not only did he show us the power of fair collaboration, but it was his major modus operandi. He connected people from diverse backgrounds; not only to an open research culture and its many values but also to each other. 

DARIAHns will remember his passionate keynote speech at our 2018 Annual Event, which was an opportunity to explore how much we have in common with his vision of creating a more innovative and healthier research culture. In this post, I wish to connect you with and highlight pieces from his legacy. 

In his vision of making science accessible to all, Jon founded the Open Science MOOC, a collaboratively built knowledge hub where anyone with an internet connection could learn about different aspects of the open research culture, from the very first steps towards Open Research Software and Open Source to Open Access to research papers, including also perspectives from the humanities. 

He kept fighting for a scholarly communication ecosystem where scholars are less exposed to the prestige economy of publishing and are free to publish their work in a venue of their choice, regardless of their geographical background, discipline or career status. As instances of this endeavour, you can read his work, mostly results of collaborations, on the state of peer review, on Why the term ‘Article Processing Charge’ (APC) is misleading or a recently published article addressing Ten Hot Topics Around Scholarly Publishing about the often vigorously debated world of scholarly communication. The [R]evolution of open science, an anthology of all of his texts on the topic of Open Science had been published just one month before his tragic death, in March 2020. 

Being also the founder of the preprint service plaeoarXiv, it was widely known that Jon came to Open Science from Paleontology but a much less known fact is that he also authored chidrens’ books about dinosaurs, so let me close this post with these references to his beloved velociraptors

Jon will be sorely missed. It feels impossible and deeply painful that he will not inspire and support this blog any more.


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