Open Access in Latin America & The Caribbean

Open Access in Latin America & The Caribbean

MyScienceWork takes you on a unique journey to discover Open Access policies all over the world. Last stop: Latin America & The Caribbean

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If anyone would have told the university students of Colombia that in 2018 they would be able to find scientific content without needing to open a dusty book we are sure that they would have rolled their eyes and carry on. Lucky for them this 2018 one of the most prestigious public universities of Colombia (UdeA) is celebrating the international Week of OA, which make us very proud as part of the OA movement.

When OA made its start in Latin America with the launch in Brazil of “a pilot program to coordinate academic publishing on the web” thanks to  the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) in 1997 in no way the world was expecting the growth we have seen within this past years. Something that started as a way to “strengthen the visibility of the journals” has developed into something much bigger than that. As mentioned before, Brazil was the pioneer latin country to start this revolution. Their platform started with  275 OA journals that have evolved into 1.285 OA journals in the SciELO and it has been supported by fifteen LA&C countries + Portugal, Spain & South Africa.

Open Access accomplishments record in Latin America:

OA is the way Latin America, a developing continent, will have access to better, wider and faster knowledge coming from all parts of the globe. Let’s have a deep look on what is going  country by country:

In Colombia it was established the National System of Open Access to Knowledge (SNAAC) in 2015. This initiative was promoted by the Ministry of Education, the Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (Colciencias), universities, the National Academic Network of Advanced Technology (RENATA), and other stakeholders with the objective of promoting and strengthening the conditions and capacities “for the production, articulation, organization, visibility, promotion of the use and visibility of Colombian scientific production in open access.”

The National Commission of Scientific and Technological Research (Conicyt) of Chile conducted the initiative Datos Científicos (Scientific Data). This initiative requires all the data derived from research funded by Conicyt to be deposited in open repositories in adequate formats. LA Referencia, is hosted in Chile. This LA federated network of OA repositories involves 9 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, México,Perú,Venezuela & El Salvador).

Mexico hosts two regional journals indexing databases: RedAlyc and Latindex; In 2017, they also launched an open science policy: classification system for open access journals + a set of OS guidelines aiming to subsidize policies, resources, and initiatives of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) regarding the OA field.

Thanks to all these achievements, the research community throughout Latin America is more capable of developing its activities than in the past (due to lack of funds for science) and can create an enriched global source that will enhance Latin America worldwide regarding to O.A.

Let's take a look to the OA LA&C legislations:

Brazil: In demand of the deposit of all research Open Science Practices Adopted by Latin American & Caribbean OA Day two bills were proposed to the House of Representatives (To the Congress in 2007 and to the Senate in 2011). None of them were passed.

Argentina: In 2013 the congress passed a law requiring that the outcomes of public funded research must be freely available in open access institutional repositories.

Peru: In 2013 the Act No. 300357 (that regulates the National Digital Repository for Open Access Science, Technology and Innovation) was passed.

All Latin America: In the beginning of this 2018, four LA&C institutions Clacso, Ibict, Latindex, and Redalyc signed a joint declaration  reinforcing the importance of the adoption of the CC BY-NCSA
license by LA&C journals and repositories in order to promote the open access to scientific production in the region, as well to guarantee its protection from commercial exploitation and appropriation.

This declaration constitutes a political statement and a general guideline regarding licensing practices in the region. Nevertheless, it conflicts with the prevailing view in the international open science movement that recommends the adoption of CC BY.

All this evolution for the continent with the largest gap between rich and poor and pressing social issues that require research is vital. Making OA something accepted equally worldwide directly makes society evolve, not only being an  intellectual achievement it is also a humanitarian one. This is why organizations like UNESCO with its Global Open Access Portal (GOAP) working closely with people like Dominique Babini are making a fire that will burn the mistakes of the past and lead Latin America to the future they deserve.

To learn more: