I met Jon on March 21st 2019. He was a guest speaker at the open science symposium to celebrate Brian Nosek’s honorary doctorate at Gent University. In his lecture1, he mentioned the principles of open scholarship by Tony Ross-Hellauer and said (paraphrased):
If you look at the foundational principles of open science – Freedom, Fairness, Justice, Truth, Liberty – and you are still not doing it, then you are not a good human being."
I found that too confrontational, even counterproductive when the overarching mission is to motivate skeptic people to adopt open science practices.
But it was powerful, unambiguous, impossible to ignore. The audience had to think about his words, face the contradiction, (try to) resolve the tension. Presumably, that was his intent all along: he would not allow you to forget his message. As a consequence, it is difficult to forget him.
I met Jon, but did not know him. And yet, I feel compelled to remember him: a complex human being, painfully open about his struggles, translating adversity into an opportunity to grow, sporting badass tattoos. Learning about his sudden demise made me feel the same way as when I learned about Aaron Swartz and his untimely death. Just like Aaron, Jon could have done so much more, taught us much more…. fought with us a little bit longer.
We lost a strong leader, a powerful ally in the fight for what is right.
I did not know Jon, but I will miss him.