SciELO Books and open access in epidemic times: More important than ever | SciELO in Perspective

By Gilberto Hochman, Researcher at Fiocruz, Scientific Editor at Editora Fiocruz and Assistant Editor of Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, social midia is applauding the franchise of open access to books, book chapters, data and encyclopedias in all areas of knowledge by traditional foreign university publishers, bases such as JSTOR and Project Muse, and various publishers. The necessary policies of social isolation, and even quarantine, led to the closure of research institutions, universities, libraries and archives. And, with that, the drastic reduction of knowledge access channels, particularly in countries outside the 21st century central circuit of science. The offer is worthwhile and should be celebrated and enjoyed. However, this open access has an expiration date: the end of the pandemic.1 Regardless of its duration, after the international health emergency, access will again be paid for, either by individuals, educational and research institutions and by government agencies, with a huge burden for the countries of the Global South. Anyone who has tried and enjoyed, should pay to continue having access. Open access to scientific knowledge is not a routine or a commitment by publishers, but a business and an exception like during the pandemic. In that sense, SciELO Books is more important now than ever.