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Only through a belated mea culpa from Dorothea did I catch that last month, “In a characteristically provocative talk… Richard Smith, who is on the Board of Directors of PLoS [Public Library of Science], accused traditional subscription-based publishers of acting like slave owners. And he compared open access advocates to abolitionists.”

Provocative? How about embarrassing? That noxiously egregious comparison puts Smith in an exceptionally early but nonetheless strong position for my first annual What-Were-You-Thinking award.

T. Scott labeled Smith’s presentation “wretched” (a word that really doesn’t get enough playtime these days) before calling out the open access movement on its other weak spots.

But what Smith’s horrendous performance underscores more than anything is his own sheer self-absorbed cluelessness.

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