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….”

“No Publication Favelas! Latin America’s Vision for Open Access” by Monica Berger | ACRL 2021 presentation

by Monica Berger, CUNY New York City College of Technology

Abstract: Open access was intended to be the great equalizer but its promise has not come to fruition in many lower-income countries of the Global South. Under-resourcing is only one of the many reasons why these scholars and publishers are marginalized. In order to examine inequality in our global scholarly communications system, we can compare a negative and a positive outgrowth of this imbalance. Predatory publishing represents a a weak imitation of traditional, commercial journal publishing. In contrast, Latin America’s community-based, quality scholarly infrastructure is anti-colonial. It can be argued that Latin America’s publishing infrastructure represents one solution to predatory publishing. As the future of open access is debated, it is critical that we look to Latin America as we support new models that reject legacy commercial journal publishing and support bibliodiversity.

Jeffrey Beall infamously called Brazil’s SciELO a “publishing favela” or slum. Yet Latin America represents an important exception to the problem of underdevelopment of scholarly communications in the Global South. In order to begin to better understand the marginalization of the Global South and Latin America’s success, we need to unpack the history of open access, its overemphasis on the reader as opposed to the author, and how notions of development influenced its discourse. This focus on the reader is neo-Colonialist, positioning scholars from the Global South as “downloaders” and not “uploaders,” whose scholarship is peripheral.

Lacking alternative publishing options, predatory publishing, or amateurish, low quality publishing, exploited this gap. In its pathetic imitation of international, corporate publishing, predatory publishing is neo-Colonial and a form of “faux” open access where subaltern authors, editors, and publishers poorly imitate Global North corporate publishing. Predatory publishing is a sad simulacra with real world damage. Since predatory publishing is overwhelming based in the Global South and many of its authors based in the Global South, it tarnishes the reputation of all scholarship from less developed countries. In contrast, predatory authorship and publishing are rare in Latin America.

Latin America is an exemplar of sustainable and humane open access. Heather Morrison deemed Latin American as a “long-time peerless leader in open access.” The advent of Plan S, a rapid flip to open access, is accelerating the co-option of open access by large, commercial publishers predicating a variety of negative outcomes. In contrast, the Latin American concept of bibliodiversity represents an important alternative model. No one size fits all and a local vision governs. Bibliodiversity interrogates the presumption that all scholarship must be English-language. It also values indigenous and local knowledge as well as lay readers. Redalyc and SciELO include measures for research collaboration. Various regional scholarly organizations cooperate, sharing expertise, providing training in editorial and technical best practices. This cooperation has expanded to a global scale. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories and SPARC are partnering with LA Referencia and others, expanding Latin America’s vision globally, generating a meaningful alternative model for open access.

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Slides with talk transcript and sources as presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, ACRL 2021: Ascending into an Open Future, held virtually, April 16, 2021.

Connecting the Knowledge Commons — From Projects to Sustainable Infrastructure – The End of a Centralized Open Access Project and the Beginning of a Community-Based Sustainable Infrastructure for Latin America – OpenEdition Press

Abstract:  The Latin American region has an ecosystem where the nature of publication is conceived as the act of making public, of sharing, not as the publishing industry. International, national and institutional contexts have led to redefine a project—Redalyc.org—that began in 2003 and that has already fulfilled its original mission: give visibility to knowledge coming from Latin America and promote qualitative scientific journals. Nevertheless, it has to be transformed from a Latin American platform based in Mexico into a community-based regional infrastructure that continues assessing journals’ quality and providing access to full-text, thus allowing visibility for journals and free access to knowledge. It is a framework that generates technology in favor of the empowerment and professionalization of journal editors, making sustainable the editorial task in open access so that Redalyc may sustain itself collectively. This work describes Redalyc’s first model, presents the problematic in process and the new business model Redalyc is designing and adopting to operate.

 

An interview with Arianna Becerril-García, Executive Director, Redalyc | Zenodo

“This is one of a series of interviews to share insights into the sustainability of open infrastructure services.

These interviews were conducted in the Spring/Summer of 2020. This is an Invest in Open Infrastructure Project: https://investinopen.org.

This work is supported by Open Society Foundations and SPARC Europe, in collaboration with Invest in Open Infrastructure….”

Exploring collaborative non-commercial publishing models for Open Access: tender results | Plan S

cOAlition S received a total of 11 proposals for the tender for a study to explore collaborative non-commercial Open Access publishing models for Open Access (a.k.a Diamond OA) published in March 2020. We are pleased to announce that the tender was awarded to a consortium coordinated by OPERAS, including Sparc Europe, Utrecht University, DOAJ, UiT The Arctic University of Norway as partners, and LIBER, OASPA, ENRESSH, Redalyc-AmeliCA and CSI as associate partners.

The study will be delivered by the end of 2020, and regular public updates on progress are planned along the way. The study is financially supported by Science Europe.

KNOWLEDGE BASE ON EPIDEMICS FROM AMELICA/REDALYC JOURNALS

“In the face of a global health contingency, the vital role of Open Access is endorsed: to bring knowledge to all corners of the world, to allow science to be quickly and timely accessible so that its contribution is reflected in the improvement of the quality of human life , in saving lives and in the development of a better society for all. Open Access initiatives such as Redalyc have been working towards this goal for 18 years. Today, the AmeliCA/Redalyc alliance reaffirms its commitment to Open Access and continues to develop technology which it is now applied to the semantic dissemination of articles published on topics of interest in epidemiology, pandemics and related topics. This development enable to publish more than 6 thousand articles in Linked Open Data (LOD) format so that they can be processed and interconnected in the LOD knowledge cloud and allow users to browse content and access to full-texts in a thematic discovery service….”
 

AmeliCA/Redalyc1 run an ontology-based algorithm, previously developed called OntoOAI (Becerril-Garci?a & Aguado-Lopez, 2018), on their databases to extract epidemics-related content. The results include: an ontology representation of the knowledge published in 6,557 scientific articles including concepts and relations, as well as their attributes, a directed-graph thematic content browser to access to full-texts and a dataset available at SPARQL endpoint to query the results as part of Linked Open Data….”

 

 

Building Bridges for Social Justice in Global Publishing: Seeking the Mexican Perspective: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  At the NASIG 2019 Conference, the presenter outlined how the dominance of English-language publishers based in the Global North negatively impacts researchers in Puebla, Mexico. Universities in the Global South must compete in world-wide university ranking systems, which intensifies the pressure to compete with researchers in the Global North to publish in journals of the Global North in order to demonstrate global competitiveness and local career standing. To support those competitive publishing expectations, institutions of the Global South must also subscribe to English-language journal packages of the Global North, thus locking in a cycle of academic publishing dominance. Meanwhile, Latin America is developing quality Open Access (OA) alternatives. In May 2018, the presenter received funding from a NASIG grant to interview journal editors and librarians at universities in Puebla, Mexico. Through these interviews, the presenter sought to explore challenges for researchers publishing in Global North journals, discuss the role of OA at the interviewees’ institutions, consider the future outlook for OA in Mexico, and examine the social justice implications of the academic journal publishing ecosystem. The presenter reported on findings from the interviews and invited members to discuss how engagement with researchers from the Global South can help the global scholarly communication ecosystem become more equitable.

 

Latin America’s longstanding Open Access ecosystem could be undermined by proposals from the Global North | LSE Latin America and Caribbean

“Open access is often seen as a process of switching from the existing closed-subscription model of scholarly communication to an open one. But Latin America has had an open access ecosystem for scholarly publishing for over a decade, and the recent AmeliCA initiative seeks to develop cooperative scientific communication further still. These efforts, however, could yet be undermined by recent open access proposals from the cOAlition S consortium of research funders in the Global North, write Eduardo Aguado López and Arianna Becerril García (both Redalyc, AmeliCA, and Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México)….”

Repositories for academic products/outputs: Latin… | F1000Research

Abstract:  Open access policies have been progressing since the beginning of this century. Important global initiatives, both public and private, have set the tone for what we understand by open access. The emergence of tools and web platforms for open access (both legal and illegal) have placed the focus of the discussion on open access to knowledge, both for academics and for the general public, who finance such research through their taxes, particularly in Latin America. This historically unnoticed discussion must, we believe, be discussed publicly, given the characteristics of the Latin American scientific community, as well as its funding sources. This article includes an overview of what is meant by open access and describes the origins of the term, both in its philosophical sense and in its practical sense, expressed in the global declarations of Berlin and Bethesda. It also includes the notion of open access managed (or not) by some reputable institutions in Chile, such as CONICYT (National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research) and higher education institutions reputed nationally, such as the Universdad de Chile and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Various Latin American initiatives related to open access (Scielo, Redalyc, among others) are described, as well as the presence of Chilean documents in those platforms. The national institutional repositories are listed, as well as their current status and a discussion about what open access has implied in Latin America and its importance for the replicability of the investigations carried out locally. Finally, we describe some governmental initiatives (mainly legislative) at the Latin American level and propose some recommendations regarding the promotion and implementation of repositories for the access to scientific data (for access and replication purposes) of the national research.

 

North vs South – Are open access models in conflict?

“One particular challenge for researchers in the Global South is the potential for a shift from a ‘pay to read’ model of scholarly communication to a ‘pay to publish’ model in which researchers do not have the resources necessary to publish their research.

Plan S has stated that it is not focused on delivering only one business model for scholarly communication. However, Article Processing Charges (APCs) have been the only model clearly identified for financing.

If Plan S is proposing to pursue a global flip to open access, we believe that this will require the recognition and support of diverse business models and a clearer definition of the resources these organisations will need to implement these policies, much in the same way the coalition has provided guidance to commercial publishers to secure funding for APC payments.

For a system that publicly subsidises scholarly communication through academic institutions, as in Latin America, implementing charges to authors heightens the risk of breaking a structure that has been designed to support researchers and keep public money within a publicly managed ecosystem.

As Leslie Chan notes, when opening access is decontextualised from its historical and political roots, it has the potential to become as exploitative and oppressive as the system it is seeking to replace….”

Open and Shut?: The OA interviews: Arianna Becerril-García, Chair of AmeliCA

“A professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM), Arianna Becerril-García is also the Executive Director of Redalyc, the Network of Scientific Journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. Redalyc is a regional open access portal for the social sciences and humanities that indexes 1,305 local journals and hosts the full texts of more than 650,000 articles. …

In addition, Becerril-García is the Chair of a new project called AmeliCA (Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South). AmeliCA’s goal is to propagate the Redalyc model to the more than 15,000 journals in the region and elsewhere in the Global South.

As Chair of AmeliCA, Becerril-García has become a vocal critic of Plan S – the European OA initiative announced last year by a group of funders that call themselves cOAlition S. While AmeliCA shares cOAlition S’s goal of achieving universal open access, says Becerril-García, it fears that, as currently conceived, Plan S would disenfranchise researchers in the Global South and exclude them further from the international scholarly publishing system….”

Redalyc celebra el surgimiento de Invest in Open Infrastructure

Throughout 16 years of experience, Redalyc has promoted, from permanent technological development and accompaniment to editors, a collaborative, sustainable and non-commercial scientific communication for the benefit of the Latin American scientific communities, mainly of the Social Sciences and the Humanities.

In the pursuit of this goal, Redalyc celebrates the emergence of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), an initiative that has brought together various institutions (including OPERAS, SPARC, Center for Open Science and recently Redalyc), meeting with the goal of building a Open, scalable and durable scientific infrastructure that seeks to extend its benefits on a global scale.

Redalyc is pleased to be part of this initiative and thus consolidates its objective of building a collaborative, sustainable and non-commercial Open Access ecosystem for Latin America….”

Plan S feedback | Innovations in Scholarly Communication

We have a few overall recommendations:

  • Improve on the why: make it more clear that Plan S is part of a broader transition towards open science and not only to make papers available and OA cheaper. It is part of changes to make science more efficient, reliable and reusable.
  • Plan S brings great potential, and with that also comes great responsibility for cOAlition S funders. From the start, plan S has been criticized for its perceived focus (in intent and/or expected effects) on APC-based OA publishing. In our reading, both the principles and the implementation guidance recognize for all forms of full OA publishing, including diamond OA and new forms of publishing like overlay journals. However, it will depend to no small extent on the actual recognition and support of non-APC based gold OA models by cOAlitionS funders whether plan S will indeed encourage such bibliodiversity and accompanying equity in publishing opportunities. Examples of initiatives to consider in this regard are OJS journal systems by PKP, Coko open source technology based initiatives, Open Library of HumanitiesScoap3Free Journal Network, and also Scielo and Redalyc in Latin America.
  • The issue of evaluation and assessment is tied closely to the effects Plan S can or will have. It is up to cOAlitionS funders to take actionable steps to turn their commitment to fundamentally revise the incentive and reward system of science in line with DORA into practice, at the same time they are putting the Plan S principles into practice. The two can mutually support each other, as open access journals that also implement other open science criteria such as pre-registration, requirements for FAIR data and selection based on rigorous methodological criteria will facilitate evaluation based on research quality.  
  • Make sure to (also) provide Plan S in the form of one integrated document containing the why, the what and the how on one document. Currently it is too easy to overlook the why. That document should be openly licensed and shared in a reliable archive.
  • In the implementation document include a (graphical) timeline of changes and deadlines….”

Plan S feedback | Innovations in Scholarly Communication

We have a few overall recommendations:

  • Improve on the why: make it more clear that Plan S is part of a broader transition towards open science and not only to make papers available and OA cheaper. It is part of changes to make science more efficient, reliable and reusable.
  • Plan S brings great potential, and with that also comes great responsibility for cOAlition S funders. From the start, plan S has been criticized for its perceived focus (in intent and/or expected effects) on APC-based OA publishing. In our reading, both the principles and the implementation guidance recognize for all forms of full OA publishing, including diamond OA and new forms of publishing like overlay journals. However, it will depend to no small extent on the actual recognition and support of non-APC based gold OA models by cOAlitionS funders whether plan S will indeed encourage such bibliodiversity and accompanying equity in publishing opportunities. Examples of initiatives to consider in this regard are OJS journal systems by PKP, Coko open source technology based initiatives, Open Library of HumanitiesScoap3Free Journal Network, and also Scielo and Redalyc in Latin America.
  • The issue of evaluation and assessment is tied closely to the effects Plan S can or will have. It is up to cOAlitionS funders to take actionable steps to turn their commitment to fundamentally revise the incentive and reward system of science in line with DORA into practice, at the same time they are putting the Plan S principles into practice. The two can mutually support each other, as open access journals that also implement other open science criteria such as pre-registration, requirements for FAIR data and selection based on rigorous methodological criteria will facilitate evaluation based on research quality.  
  • Make sure to (also) provide Plan S in the form of one integrated document containing the why, the what and the how on one document. Currently it is too easy to overlook the why. That document should be openly licensed and shared in a reliable archive.
  • In the implementation document include a (graphical) timeline of changes and deadlines….”