Open Science, equity and the Brazilian context

“Open Science, a global movement created by the scientific community, has undertaken efforts aimed at increasing the popularity of scientific knowledge production and making the results of scientific research widely accessible to society. Open Science principles, which aim to make research outcomes freely available through scientific journals or open access repositories, and to promote transparency to their processes, replication and reproducibility, have generally been well received by the scientific community. Its transparent, accessible and collaborative nature is widely recognized, but discussion of potentially reckless aspects for implementation, such as the costs of participation and the need for a favorable policy agenda, are also in focus.1

 

As this “umbrella of strategies” spreads, some questions become more frequent: how can we promote equity from such an inequitable basis, after all? The venue for the “open science party” has been set, but the capacity of the guests to take part in it has not been the same. Surveys show that the article processing charges (APCs), charged by international open access journals have increased sharply and constituted a barrier to the visibility of scientific production of researchers globally.2,3 Thus, the Brazilian scientific community is among those agents whose capacity to participate is compromised by budget constraints for research and the lack of resources directed to publication fees by funding agencies in Brazil.

 

Science has been deeply marked by advances and setbacks, in Brazil. Even in the early 2000s, the structural working conditions, regional imbalances, funding options and conflicts between the public and private sectors were already seen as challenges.4 The situation has not changed much and, despite an upward trend in federal government spending on science and technology, from 2003 to 2015, this trend was reversed as of 2016, reaching levels below the investments in 2009 by 2020.5 This funding setback has imposed heavy burdens on the entire scientific community, reflected in difficulties to maintain institutions and projects, and consequent expansion of barriers, making Brazilian researchers even more distant from the effective implementation of Open Science….”

Breve cronologia da Ciência Aberta no Brasil – Vida acadêmica – modo de usar

From Google’s English:  “This brief chronology will map the history of discussions and initiatives on Open Science in Brazil (and some highly relevant international initiatives that put pressure on Brazilian actors, such as the UNESCO resolution). Until 2020 it includes academic works (such as articles, editorials and theses and dissertations – especially those related to the so-called Applied Human and Social Sciences), but even in these cases it will not contain all the production on the subject in the period . Thus, this survey is not intended to be a definitive ‘guide’ on the subject, but to present a glimpse into how the movement has unfolded, with special emphasis on the impacts on the publishing system and on doing science….”

Open access: Brazilian scientists denied waivers and discounts

“A study comparing open-access versus paywalled publications finds less geographical diversity among authors who choose open access (see Nature https://doi.org/gpkt87; 2022). This does not surprise us in Brazil, where article-processing charges (APCs) typically correspond to many months, or even years, of a scientist’s stipend. Yet we are not eligible for waivers or discounts under the open-access initiative Plan S (see go.nature.com/3d1qh), or for research-accessibility programmes such as Research4Life.

Both schemes support publications from low-income and lower-to-middle-income economies. Because Brazil is classed as an upper-middle-income economy, requests for APC waivers and discounts are generally turned down, in our experience. Many of us opt instead to publish behind paywalls. But that might not be possible after 2024, when Plan S transformative agreements will end and journals will transition to exclusively publishing open-access content….”

Pontika et al. (2022) Indicators of research quality, quantity, openness and responsibility in institutional promotion, review and tenure policies across seven countries | MetaArXiv Preprints

Pontika, N., Klebel, T., Correia, A., Metzler, H., Knoth, P., & Ross-Hellauer, T. (2022, March 3). Indicators of research quality, quantity, openness and responsibility in institutional promotion, review and tenure policies across seven countries. https://doi.org/10.31222/osf.io/b9qaw

Abstract: The need to reform research assessment processes related to career advancement at research institutions has become increasingly recognised in recent years, especially to better foster open and responsible research practices. Current assessment criteria are believed to focus too heavily on inappropriate criteria related to productivity and quantity as opposed to quality, collaborative open research practices, and the socio-economic impact of research. Evidence of the extent of these issues is urgently needed to inform actions for reform, however. We analyse current practices as revealed by documentation on institutional review, promotion and tenure processes in seven countries (Austria, Brazil, Germany, India, Portugal, United Kingdom and United States of America). Through systematic coding and analysis of 143 RPT policy documents from 107 institutions for the prevalence of 17 criteria (including those related to qualitative or quantitative assessment of research, service to the institution or profession, and open and responsible research practices), we compare assessment practices across a range of international institutions to significantly broaden this evidence-base. Although prevalence of indicators varies considerably between countries, overall we find that currently open and responsible research practices are minimally rewarded and problematic practices of quantification continue to dominate.

The Brazilian compound library (BraCoLi) database: a repository of chemical and biological information for drug design | SpringerLink

Abstract:  The Brazilian Compound Library (BraCoLi) is a novel open access and manually curated electronic library of compounds developed by Brazilian research groups to support further computer-aided drug design works, available on https://www.farmacia.ufmg.br/qf/downloads/. Herein, the first version of the database is described comprising 1176 compounds. Also, the chemical diversity and drug-like profiles of BraCoLi were defined to analyze its chemical space. A significant amount of the compounds fitted Lipinski and Veber’s rules, alongside other drug-likeness properties. A comparison using principal component analysis showed that BraCoLi is similar to other databases (FDA-approved drugs and NuBBEDB) regarding structural and physicochemical patterns. Furthermore, a scaffold analysis showed that BraCoLi presents several privileged chemical skeletons with great diversity. Despite the similar distribution in the structural and physicochemical spaces, Tanimoto coefficient values indicated that compounds present in the BraCoLi are generally different from the two other databases, where they showed different kernel distributions and low similarity. These facts show an interesting innovative aspect, which is a desirable feature for novel drug design purposes.

FAPESP reformulates its policy of open access to publications | AGÊNCIA FAPESP

“FAPESP [Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo] has reformulated its open-access policy, implemented in 2008, according to which scientific papers originating in research projects funded by it and approved for publication must be deposited in institutional repositories. Ordinance no. 37, issued on October 27 by FAPESP’s Executive Board (CTA), now mandates open access within 12 months of publication.

With the establishment of a deadline, it will be possible to verify compliance with FAPESP’s open-access mandate on the part of researchers it supports, using such tools as Google Scholar, which tracks whether research papers covered by funders’ public-access mandates are free to read. FAPESP expects this measure to enhance the visibility of the research it funds, and to increase the scientific, economic and social impact of published papers.

Researchers who are unable to comply for legal or contractual reasons must advise FAPESP of this impediment and justify it in the scientific reports required for the grants or scholarships associated with the publications, or via the contact section Converse com a FAPESP.”

SciELO – Brazil – Desafios para a sustentabilidade dos periódicos científicos brasileiros e do Programa SciELO Desafios para a sustentabilidade dos periódicos científicos brasileiros e do Programa SciELO

v

An analysis of research output in open access journals in BRICS countries: a bibliometric study | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the current status of research output published in open access (OA) journals from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) countries from 2010 to 2019 and compare their performances in terms of OA research output.

Design/methodology/approach

Papers contributed by the researchers of BRICS countries were searched using an advanced search option in the Web of Science core collection database. The retrieved results were restricted to the “journal articles” published in the “English language” during the time period of 2010 to 2019. After that, the selected papers were again refined by using the “open access” section to identify the research output of BRICS countries published in OA journals.

Findings

Total 2,219,943 papers were published from BRICS countries, out of which 402,199 articles were published in OA journals and South Africa has published the highest number of research output in OA journals (31%). Although, there has been a constant increasing growth of research output published in OA journals in BRICS countries from 13,300 papers in 2010 to 82,310 articles in 2019. Engineering and Technology have published the maximum number of papers in OA journals. Researchers of BRICS countries mostly contributed their OA research output in journals published from the USA and Scientific Reports (UK) is identified as one of the leading OA journals. Additionally, among all the BRICS countries, China is found as the promising leader in terms of OA journals publications, the maximum share i.e. 71.25 per cent of total 402,199 OA journal publications have been produced by the highest number 137 (23.41%) of institutions of China and Chinese Academy of Sciences (China) is leading institution with 39,036 papers published in OA journals.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to BRICS countries, but it offers theoretical implications for extending its scope to different countries. This study may be used for raising awareness of OA among researchers of BRICS countries and encouraging them to contribute their research work in OA journals. The findings of this study are useful and meaningful in understanding the comparative status of research across countries, disciplines, journals and institutions.

Originality/value

This is the first study in BRICS countries focusing on the research output published in OA journals.

Perceptions, relationships, expectations, and challenges: Views of communication and research for scientific dissemination in Brazilian Federal Institutes

Abstract:  Communicating Brazilian science still seems to be a challenge for journalists and researchers of public institutions of education and science. In this sense, this research aims to identify and analyze scientists’ perceptions regarding the work of journalists, the relationship between these groups, the expectations, and the challenges of science communication in two Federal Institutes of Education in Brazil. We conducted a mixed study in the qualitative stage with the participation of 30 interviewees, and in the quantitative stage, journalists and researchers answered a questionnaire (n = 242). Our results indicated that the work of science communication is not carried out properly in both Institutes and that there is a lack of articulated work among both journalists, communicators, and researchers. The relationship between these groups needs to be built jointly. In this respect, the biggest challenges are to institutionalize science communication, establish a science communication plan, and overcome internal relationship barriers. Our results may underpin science communication policies and policies for scientific dissemination both institutional or even national levels.

 

 

SciELO – Brazil – Open Access Publications with Article Processing Charge (APC) Payment: a Brazilian Scenario Analysis Open Access Publications with Article Processing Charge (APC) Payment: a Brazilian Scenario Analysis

Abstract:  The expansion of open access publications has been correlated with specific government policies in many countries. The evolution in these cases is understandable within the framework of funding regulations. However, this is not the case for Brazil, where no regulation is currently in place. The unusually high percentage of open access publications in the Brazilian scientific community is analyzed here toward understanding which factors influence this growth and how similar effects may also impact other countries, particularly developing nations. We found that from 2012 to 2019 the Brazilian scientific community drifted to international open access journals. This transition is discussed in the framework of mega journals.

 

Association between productivity and journal impact across disciplines and career age

Abstract:  The association between productivity and impact of scientific production is a long-standing debate in science that remains controversial and poorly understood. Here we present a large-scale analysis of the association between yearly publication numbers and average journal-impact metrics for the Brazilian scientific elite. We find this association to be discipline-specific, career-age dependent, and similar among researchers with outlier and non-outlier performance. Outlier researchers either outperform in productivity or journal prestige, but they rarely do so in both categories. Non-outliers also follow this trend and display negative correlations between productivity and journal prestige but with discipline-dependent intensity. Our research indicates that academics are averse to simultaneous changes in their productivity and journal-prestige levels over consecutive career years. We also find that career patterns concerning productivity and journal prestige are discipline-specific, having in common a raise of productivity with career age for most disciplines and a higher chance of outperforming in journal impact during early career stages.

 

Latin America could become a world leader in non-commercial open science

“In the 1990s, new repositories and databases were born that would become pillars of a solid infrastructure for open-access scientific communication. With the launch of the open access journals databases Latindex, SciELO and Redalyc, the digitisation of scientific journals was given a boost and a quality seal was granted to published research. With a strong public imprint, these repositories acted as a springboard for the development of non-commercial open access environment that is today the hallmark of the region.

Latin America now has the optimal conditions to create open science infrastructure that capitalises on these previous efforts. And two examples stand out.

Brazil’s BrCris was developed by the Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia alongside major national public agencies. Brazil is an immense country, with a professionalised scientific and technological system that has produced many databases on a national scale, making integration a huge challenge. Examples include the Open Data Portal, the CV system Plataforma Lattes and the directory of research groups known as CNPQ….

The second case is that of the PerúCRIS platform. It was first devised when Peru approved its Open Access Law in 2013. The need then arose to integrate three scientific information platforms: the directory of researchers, the national directory of institutions and the national network of repositories. The new platform also includes all undergraduate and graduate theses….”

a luxury market? – basic research – KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper

“The rapid migration of scientific online journals around the turn of the century seemed to usher in changes: In 1995, Forbes predicted that Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, would be the “first victim of the Internet”. After 25 years, the tech-scientific arm of the RELX group, a multinational conglomerate that the publisher has become, has annual sales of more than £ 2.6 billion with profit margins of between 30% and 40%. …

Who in their right mind would spend dozens more times to have their item in nature?

The answer? Almost every. Not because scientists are not very eager to deal with their budgets, but on the contrary: Articles in renowned magazines are the engine that guarantees reputation, jobs and research resources in the academic world. Like those who pay for a Louis Vuitton bag, the writers care less about the product than about the brand.

The result is a prestigious economy that allows big magazines to demand what they want, and also gets freelance work from academics who want to bond with their brands as reviewers or editors. There is no room for renewal in this market: even competitors offering better services at lower cost would take decades to build a reputation for a nature or a science.

As a result, researchers from countries like Brazil are forced to choose between two ethically questionable alternatives: have their work blocked by paywalls for the benefit of others, or waste the country’s scarce research resources with excessive open access fees….

Ironically, Brazil has also launched Scielo, perhaps the world’s most successful large-scale Open Access initiative, which uses publicly funded infrastructure to ensure that most national journals do not charge access or publication fees. However, a large segment of Brazilian researchers cannot afford to use it as they have to lower their college degrees by not using large magazines….”

Open Science and the emergence of preprints

“In the context of this journal, Revista Gaúcha de Enfermagem, the debate on the particularities regarding the new preprint model of publication has been a present topic and has stimulated intense debate in the scientific communication and editorial communities considering the contradictions that surround this model. At the same time, the editors have been consulted regarding the priority action lines of SciELO, the Scientific Electronic Library Online, in order to consolidate their own preprint repository, according to the international scientific publication trends towards Open Science, which has been integrating more and more the debate in forums and specific events (1-2….”