As member of the Latin American scholarly community, reading the recent blogpost “Is SciELO a publication favela?” I found it offensive for one of the regions of the world where open access is more advanced, and managed by the scholarly community.
Is it that journals from Latin America, which unlike Europe and North America have not been outsourced to commercial publishers, have significantly improved their quality with the help of Latindex, SciELO, Redalyc, the national collections of quality journals and the journal collections in digital repositories, and now those journals are attracting the attention of major international commercial publishers interested in offering their services to journals and governments in the region as we observe in several countries in Latin America? Does it have relation to the interest of promoting a new big business of "pay to publish" in a region that has no tradition of APC´s? Is this moving so fast before governments realize that the scholarly community could go on managing open access scholarly communications without commercial intermediaries, based on networks of open access digital repositories that incorporate peer review, indicators for evaluation and other services needed for open science, open education and open access?.
In any case, the kind of message the blogpost transmits paves the way for a gold rush for uninformed readers. A blogpost full of prejudice and lack of knowledge and understanding about the region (eg .: not mentioned the impressive use of both services criticized in the blog, or only US users are of interest?; no reference is made to the impact of these services beyond academics (Alperin, 2015). Comments like the mentioned blogpost do not add to think a sustainable global system of open access scholarly communication that could contribute to a global conversation of science that is inclusive of different research agendas, realities, voices, and geographies.
The contents of SciELO, Redalyc and digital repositories from Latin America are broadly visible and accessible, not “largely hidden” as the author mentions. Unlike international subscription journals, visible only to those who can pay. Or we only consider visible what is indexed by WoS and Scopus, managed by the companies Thomson Reuters and Elsevier, which only index a small fraction of quality journals from Latin America indexed by Latindex ?.
Great tweet from Joan Velterop (Netherlands), connoisseur of commercial publishers, in relation to the abovementioned blogpost
@Jⓐn VelteropVillavelius July 31
Who's paying this guy? Calling commercial publishers "nice neighborhoods" and SciELO "publication favela". http://scholarlyoa.com/2015/07/30/is-scielo-a-publication-favela/
I close this message by thanking again colleagues from the North who, unlike the author of the abovementioned blogpost, do strive to understand Latin America, evaluate its contribution to non-commercial open access and imagine together with developing regions possible futures for open access scholarly communications: Jean-Claude Guédon, Leslie Chan, John Willinsky, Kathleen Shearer, Eloy Rodrigues, Heather Joseph, Richard Poynder, Reme Melero, Bjorn Brembs, Barbara Kirsop, Iryna Kuchma, among others (I do not include Juan Pablo Alperin and Gustavo Fischman because they live now in Canada and the United States but are from Argentina !!!)
CLACSO-Open Access Program
July 31, 2015