Open science advocate apologises over ‘inappropriate behaviours’

Jon Tennant barred from OpenCon community after breaching code of conduct

November 13, 2019
University of Southern Denmark
Source: iStock

An open science advocate has apologised after he was barred from an academic community for breaching its code of conduct, over what he described as “inappropriate public behaviours”.

OpenCon, a coalition that works to make online research and educational materials freely available, said that its code of conduct committee “has decided to remove Jon Tennant from the OpenCon community and disallow his participation in future OpenCon events – in-person or online”.

OpenCon did not provide further details about the allegations against Dr Tennant, a palaeontologist who works as a research fellow at the University of Southern Denmark, but provided a link in its statement to its code of conduct.

In a blog posted on 12 November, Dr Tennant said that the ban had been imposed 12 months ago and that he “respect[ed] the decision taken by OpenCon in reaction to my inappropriate public behaviours towards other participants of OpenCon that caused harm and breached the code of conduct”.

Dr Tennant said that he took “full responsibility for these actions” and that he was “ashamed that my actions put [OpenCon] in this position”.

Dr Tennant added: “I apologise for my behaviour at OpenCon. I had apologised previously to those directly involved, and deeply regret the hurt that my actions caused.

“However, I have not yet made a public apology to the wider community for the continued direct and indirect consequences of my behaviour. I apologise to everyone also indirectly affected by my actions, and all subsequent chain effects.”

Dr Tennant said that he would “dedicate my future to repairing the damage that I caused” and was now “much more vigilant of my behaviour and the impact it might have on those around me”.

Members of the steering committee of Open Science Mooc, which offers online courses in open research practice and was founded by Dr Tennant, said that they were “currently in the process of addressing the OpenCon statement” and aimed “to publish and announce a joint statement regarding consequences for the Open Science Mooc operations” by 15 November. Dr Tennant sits on the steering committee, but was not a signatory to the statement.

A Southern Denmark spokeswoman said that the university was “not allowed to comment on personnel matters” under Danish law. “Therefore, we cannot confirm or deny that we are investigating an employee,” she said.

The Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity in Paris said that Dr Tennant was a short-term research fellow there between July and September this year.

“We have been alerted by the OpenCon announcement and are currently investigating any instances of misconduct during his term on our campus, though nothing was signalled out at this moment,” a CRI spokeswoman said.

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