Treefinder retracted


Remember the flap about a German scientist restricting the license to his software (Treefinder) to protest European immigration policies? Not a great idea if your software is published in an open access journal.

Gangolf Jobb cut off licensing of his program to European countries he considered too welcoming to immigrants. Last week, BMC Evolutionary Biology published a retraction of the 2004 article that introduced Treefinder, citing their policy on software availability:

If published, software applications/tools must be freely available to any researcher wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes…

The retraction notice specifies that the software availability policy was in effect when the article was published, so this is not an ex post facto response.

A prior licensing change revoked permission for U.S. researchers, citing his reasons as

(1) I want to protest against American imperialism, which I regard as the cause of most of all evil in the world: wars, tyranny, poverty, migration.

(2) I want to protest against EU tyranny, which is mostly the result of US imperialism.

(3) I want to demonstrate my sovereignty, something I would welcome to see much more often in science and politics.

So far we’ve got two kook red flags: extreme xenophobia and sovereign citizen fantasies; can we get a third? How about a persecution complex?

After so many years of hard work on TREEFINDER, I have still not been paid any reward.

I’m not sure what kind of reward he was expecting; I’d have been pretty happy with nearly 1000 citations.

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