James Coyne: PLOS One lawyers “squaring off” against PACE authors

Professor James Coyne has provided an update on his request to PLOS One that they enforce their data-sharing policy upon the authors of the PACE trial, who published one of their papers in the journal.
Professor Coyne had requested the data from Professor Paul McCrone under PLOS One’s policy. However, Professor McCrone’s administrative institution, King’s College London, treated the request according to the Freedom of Information Act, waited the maximum 20 days to respond, and then dismissed the request as “vexatious”, and having “a lack of value or serious purpose” and an “improper motive”.
This was, Professor Coyne said, “a nasty, unprofessional, personal response”. Now, he says, “PLOS One is squaring off with its lawyers against the PACE investigators and their lawyers”.
He added, “It’s also no secret that Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, has put pressure on the PLOS management to quiet me down both at their blog site and in social media…. Horton demanded that PLOS clamp down [on] not only what I upload to their blog, but what I say on Twitter and Facebook.” Professor Coyne described Horton as “laughable”.
Coyne’s statements appeared in his most recent blogpost, where he explained to patients how he curates his Facebook page in a way that will maximise the benefits to the ME/CFS community. He noted that in order to involve the broadest possible audience, he could not always accept others’ material.
He said, “I don’t think it’ll come to this, but my Facebook wall certainly could be a place where a general strike of the over 4000 PLOS academic editors could be organized – if PLOS dropped the ball and weakened their data sharing policy.”
He also noted, “I strongly promote PLOS… because I am committed to the values that it represents. I’m quite critical of PLOS when I feel its journals depart from those values. Ultimately, I am more loyal to those values than to PLOS.”

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