MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD
Now that autumn is upon us, it is a great time for reflection. Over the past few months, I have been thinking a lot about what makes the MCAA such a great association. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Is it the resources we have at our disposal? Is it the international nature of the association? Or, perhaps, it is the wide variety of interest groups?
It was only when I sat down to write this message to all of you that I had a moment of clarity. To write this message from the board, I needed to go through the significant activities the MCAA was involved in over the summer. I also needed to check the ones scheduled to take place in the coming months. In the beginning, it seemed like a daunting task. There were several hundred emails, thousands of instant messages between board members and countless interactions on social media. To my surprise, however, it was an amazing adventure.
July was particularly exciting. We started with a successful event in Paris by the BSB working group and ended with prominent participation at ESOF in Toulouse. At the Science Forum, we were highly represented in sessions that attracted media coverage (Sara’s session on the “Lost generation’). We also entertained attendees at a fantastic Science Slam – if you missed it, go and enjoy it on our YouTube Channel! The Policy WG was crucial for the success of the MCAA at ESOF, and as a board, we are delighted to facilitate all working groups to design events that resonate so much with our cause and spirit.
August followed this exciting trend. The MCAA participated at the Fringe Art festival in Edinburgh. We performed a science comedy show, which I discuss later in this newsletter. But let me tell you this: it was terrific! It was exciting to see how our organisation can be a bridge between creative researchers and our ever-changing society.
For those who think summer is for resting, we certainly proved them wrong! This summer represented a growing opportunity for each one of our board members and the MCAA as a whole.
Matthew (Chair) is coordinating the call for a new working group – the long-desired (drum roll, please!) “Funding WG”. Chapter and WG chairs have already met with Mostafa (Vice-Chair), who is efficiently reforming the guidelines for the chapters and training them to organise better and more exciting activities (training sessions are scheduled also for the winter, in case some chair has missed them). Some new chapters might also be in the making, as we have started interest groups on the website for the Oceania and Western Balkan countries to exchange ideas.
So, if you live in or have an affiliation with these areas, please check the interest group and share your thoughts. Mostafa also participated in an MSCA event in June to provide some insight on the career advancements for Marie Curie fellows – a main goal of the MCAA!
Bala, the Treasurer, is revising our budget to ensure a better share of funds between chapter/working groups and microgrants. Funding is growing, thanks to the effort in searching for new sponsorship guide by Mostafa, Zsofia, Bala, Murat & Renaud.
We have also been active and haven expressed our positions on important issues, such as the European Copyright Law and the Plan S, thanks to the prompt response of Marco, Sara and Matthew. Nehama and other members from the board are collaborating more strictly with the Communication WG to shape a better newsletter and
improve communication channels and activities. The first efforts by Maria with the net4mobility have been fruitful, as a survey is now available.
Last but not least, we are collectively trying to shape and organise the GA 2019 in Vienna. We are aiming high with a proposal to extend the conference by a half-day. We already have several keynotes speakers lined up (no spoiler on this yet, sorry!) and we are finalising the sessions. The call for GA micro-travel grants has already opened, and the response from you is already positively overwhelming! And, to make it even easier for everyone to join, we have secured a 15% discount with Austrian Airlines for all delegates who wish to fly with this airline to the GA. This impressive interest in the GA is hugely motivating for us. So, if you want to become more involved, just drop us an email!
As for myself, I had the chance to represent the MCAA at the European CASE conference. I was overcome with pride at every chance I had to introduce the MCAA to the talented people working in higher education. I could do this easily because I had finally understood why the MCAA is what it is: the people!
This message from the board is to thank you all, dear MCAA members, for an amazing summer. While as a board we are always trying to do our best, it is the community that makes the MCAA what it is – my moment of clarity, at last! The MCAA is a great association thanks to the people in our working groups, bringing forward so many new and exciting activities. It is also thanks to the people attending the events and growing together. It is thanks to the people finding the time to volunteer for what they believe.
NEWS FROM THE BOARD
THE MARIE CURIE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES ITS SUPPORT FOR PLAN S
THE MUCH ANTICIPATED “PLAN S” WHICH OUTLINES A FUTURE STRATEGY FOR OPEN SCIENCE (OS) IN EUROPE WAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED.¹
“On 4 September 2018, 11 national research funding organisation, with the support of the European Commission, including the European Research Council (ERC), announced the launch of cOAlition S, an initiative to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. It is built around Plan S, which consists of one target and 10 principles.”
The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) is a strong supporter of OS and actively promotes OS among its members, researchers and the wider society. As a recently published MCAA recommendation on the future of European Research funding stresses, the MCAA considers OS as one of the most important pillars of the future framework programme Horizon Europe.²
The MCAA hereby announces its support for Plan S and commends it to all funders and stakeholders that are contributing to its development and implementation, and encourages all funding organizations to participate in, and facilitate the widespread and full implementation of, open access publication. We also encourage all EU countries and research funding bodies to adopt the principles of Plan S and congratulate the entities who are already part of cOAlition S.³
The implementation of Plan S will require major adaptation and changes in the research community in almost all aspects of scholarly work, including scientific publication, scholarly communication, research data management, and research evaluation and funding—as discussed in our recent policy paper.² Plan S acknowledges the importance to further develop the required support needed for researchers and research institutions to adopt open access policies. This includes suitable open access infrastructure, especially for less well-funded researchers and research institutions and funding to offset any publication-related costs. Challenges and open questions remain the best way to achieve this.
The MCAA is strongly committed to encourage and facilitate these advances.Therefore, the MCAA remains an active contributor to this important discussion and is open to providing input and aid in the development of good practices.
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PRESS RELEASE
This document was prepared by the MCAA Policy Working Group and approved for release by the Chair of the MCAA Board on September 5, 2018. This document is released under a CC BY 4.0 license.⁴
INFORMATION ABOUT THE MARIE CURIE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) is one of the European Union's flagship initiatives to provide research grants supporting researchers at all stages of their careers, across all disciplines. ⁵ MSCA fellowships are among Europe’s most competitive and prestigious awards, aimed at supporting the best, most promising researchers.
The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) is a global network of researchers open to any past or present researchers supported by the MSCA.⁶ The MCAA has over 10 000 registered members, and represents the over 100 000 researchers that have been supported by the MSCA over the last two decades.⁷ The MCAA is a non-profit, politically and commercially independent organization, supported through funding from the European Union.