Open Access in Latin America/Abel Packer
1. Please, tell us who you are and where you work at. I am the coordinator of the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) a Program of the São Paulo State Foundation (FAPESP) aiming at contribute to advancement Brazilian scientific research and communication through the open access indexing and publication of a selected collection of quality peer-reviewed journals
2.When and why did your interest in Open Access begin? By 1996 when I started to articulate the proposal for the online publishing of Brazilian journals. In a joint project with Rogerio Meneghini we succeed to obtain the support of FAPESP to develop a pilot project to test the viability and acquire knowledge on the online indexing and publishing of full text journals with the tracking of their performance based on downloads and citations.
3.How would you describe your current role within the OA movement? Contribute to the pro-active insertion of the journals from emerging and developing countries in the global flow of scientific information. The main challenges we face in this regard is to overcome the classical split of journals in main-stream and regional being the latter a kind of second category journals.
4.How do you define OA? (free of cost v. open licensed or both? Both
5.What route to OA do you prefer or support and why? (Gold road v. green road) Gold road, because it embeds the concept of open access in the very structure of scientific communication. Overall, it provides more integrity on the information and the actual processing, storage and retrieval would be cheaper
6.What is the role of ScIELO in fostering OA in Brazil? What are the statistics of usage? Are authors aware of the open licensing policy of ScIELO? SciELO publishes regularly in OA since March1998, almost 4 years before Budapest Declaration. This pioneering of SciELO and its rapid success in giving national and international visibility to its journals contributed to build up and consolidate the perception that open access and online publishing are linked to the improvement of journals. Brazil ranks in second place in number of journals in DOAJ. This is large extent due to the pioneering and success of SciELO. The number of downloads continue to growth every year; in 2012, SciELO Brazil served more than 1,2 million downloads per day. Also, SciELO Brazil is first in the Webometrics ranking of top portals. Regarging open access licensing, SciELO adopts the CC BY NC attribution and of course journals are aware but not necessarily the authors.
7.Are publishers open to OA in Brazil? Did you face any obstacles when open licensing ScIELO contents? Brazilian journal publishers are mainly scientific societies and research related institutions that do not envisage profit in their publication objectives. Most of the journals are funded with public resources from different sources and therefore the adoption of OA do not face major obstacles. As SciELO indexing represents a seal of quality there is also an association between quality and OA.
8.How do you see scholarly publishing in Brazil? What is the cycle and incentives? (if you know, please compare to the USA scenario) Scholarly publishing in Brazil plays a critical role as it communicates about one third of the research indexed in WoS or Scopus. About half of the articles are in Portuguese and about 85% of the articles are of Brazilian authors online, about 6% in international collaboration and 9% with foreign authors only. This highly national orientation of the Brazilian scholarly journals contributes to their low impact compared to the journals from developed countries. The improvement of the impact of the Brazilian journals is the current major challenge of the scholarly publishing in Brazil.
9.Why do you think open access policies have faced so many barriers in Brazil? (Here I refer to bills proposed and archived) Brazilian researchers have plenty of access to scientific journals provided by the government. The same government evaluate their research programs by the impact factor of the journals their papers are published. So, there is not a demand for open access from the research community either to access or to publish. The non-governmental national research institutions such as the Academy of Science and the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science do not have and are not demanded to have a formal policy on open access. National and state research agencies also are not under pressure to define positions and/or establish policies. In this context, the movement for open access has been centered mainly in the community of libraries, which are making continued efforts to operate institutional repositories. At same time the Brazilian intellectual property and copy right law is very restrict and resisted with the general support of commercial publishers to all the intents to make it more flexible. I think that the advancement of open access policies will only succeed in the near future if it addresses specific issues and creates alternative economic models. Broader legislation although high desirable will face too many resistances with limited support. Within the current conjuncture, the effective way is to go step by step through small advances to build progressively a legal framework to support open access. Brazil did a remarkable advancement with the enactment of the information law to make public bodies transparent to society. It is sound precedent.
10.What do you see in terms of institutional open access policies in Brazil? Are there institutional policies mandating OA in Brazil or in Brazilian institutions? (Here I refer to university or other policies, proposed and/or implemented) There is an increasing awareness among Brazilian academic institutions favoring the establishment of repositories that reveals the emergence of institutional policies even when they are not widely formally adopted. Good examples are the development of institutional repositories by the University of São Paulo, Federal University of Bahia, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, etc. There is an initiative in course by the three state universities of São Paulo to develop an integrated system of institutional repositories with the support of FAPESP. IBICT, the Brazilian Institute of Scientific and Technological Information has advocated for OA for a long time already and it has contribute in a significant way to disseminate and strengthen awareness on the OA principles and methodologies. BIREME, the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information a center of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization played a key role in the last decade to foster open access to health sciences information through the development of the Virtual Health Library and several associated networks such as SciELO.
11.What is the role of Universities in OA in Brazil, and what should that role be in order to foster OA? Universities play a key role as they combines environments centered on research development, publication and access to information. Open access historically grounded through the university library systems, which in most of the cases do not have enough influence to sensitize academic authorities to establish formal open access policies. The success of institutional policies has been achieved more frequently when librarians succeed to involve researchers on the advocacy for open access.
12.What is the role of Libraries in OA in Brazil, and what should that role be in order to foster OA? See previous question
13.Who do you consider the main allies of OA in Brazil? The main ally to OA in Brazil is FSPESP. It has led and funded the SciELO Program and contributes to individual researchers on the payment of article processing charges. FAPESP is stimulating the state of São Paulo Universities to jointly adopt and develop a policy. Another national wide allies of OA in Brazil have been the scientific editors who adhered to open access through SciELO and other programs to a such extent that Brazil ranks second number of journals in DOAJ.
14. Who do you consider the main opponents of OA in Brazil? There are few public explicit opponents of OA in Brazil. However, in my opinion, what most weakens the advancement of OA in Brazil comes from national research authorities and the national science organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences and the Brazilian Society of the Advancement of Science that simply ignore the OA movement, a kind of institutionalized default. Another weakness is regarding the lack of professionalism and sustainable funding that affect many open access national journals and make them a target of the international commercial publishers.
15.Do you know how much the government invests every year in public research? If so, what is the number you have?
16.What is the role of government agencies in Brazil and what should be their role in regard to fostering OA? Government agencies have supported the open access of national journals particularly those indexed by SciELO. This support is driven mainly because of the quality of the journals and less because they are in open access. But, it is clear that at the end of the day the government agencies support quality open access journals even when the funds they provide is not enough. Regarding the research published by international commercial publishers and brokers the Brazilian Government through CAPES operates a national portal that opens the access to all national public and private universities and institutions that runs graduate programs. This program is also extensible to other areas such as the national health system. In general, the Brazilian research community has full access to the most relevant bibliographic indexes and collections of full texts available internationally. This leadership was not complemented by policies and programs towards open access. IBICT has been the solitaire federal instance that has advocated for OA, promoting meetings, manifestos, institutional repositories and operating national wiede open access systems such as the Brazilian Digital Library, the Open Journal Systems and also supported the elaboration and promotion of national legislation. However, IBICT did not succeed to get the support of the other national research agencies towards the elaboration of a national open access policy.
17.What are the main barriers to OA in Brazil? Brazil leads open access to national journals. The main barriers to the maintenance of this policy is the lack of professionalism and sustainable funding that affects many journals that make them a target of commercial publishers. This process is a kind of retrocesso in the progress of open access and an menace to its consolidation among national journals. Regarding the Brazilian research published in commercial and closed journals the main barriers is still the lack of governmental and institutional policy by the research funding agencies, universities and research institutes. For those institutions that support OA there are also the challenge to develop managerial and technical capacity to run institutional repositories. In many cases, the lack of managerial and technological capacities are the main barriers.
18.Is there a supporting community for OA in Brazil? Yes. It is very active among national scientific editors and librarians.
19.What were/are the main community driven activities or manifestos prol OA ? The main driven activities continued to be advocacy particularly inside the institutions and related to the development of institutional policies and capacities. There was in the recent past several statements, manifestos and declarations favoring OA. However, it seems this phase has passed on and there is a kind of untold consensus that the advancement of the OA movement is actually dependent on concrete and successful projects.
20.Is there technical structure supporting OA flourishing in Brazil? Is there attention to open standards and interoperability standards for a repository infrastructure? The technical supporting structure is advancing progressively but there are no a king of national platform to run institutional repositories such SciELO did for the publishing of journals, The challenge to develop local technical infrastructure institution by institution represents a major barrier. In general, there is a consensus to follow interoperability standards.