Defining the Future of Scholarly Communication in Latin America

“There is no “one size fits all” solution for open access. In Latin America, which has a very strong tradition of open access, the favoured approach has been the use of publicly-funded, non-commercial services. To raise awareness of this perspective both inside and beyond the region, LA Referencia has recently published a report, “Scholarly Communication and Open Access: Actions for a Public Policy in Latin America“.

LA Referencia is a network of ten Latin American countries that provides a discovery service for open access content in the region. The council of LA Referencia is governed by representatives from the science and technology departments of the participating governments.

The report was prompted by concerns that discussions in the international community, which are having an impact on all regions, do not appropriately reflect the priorities and traditions of Latin America. In particular, not enough attention is being paid to the importance of repositories and repository networks, especially in terms of their role in changing the economics of the current system.

The report was written for the regional authorities of LA Referencia that attended the annual Global Research Council meeting, which took place in Brazil at the beginning of May. It describes the situation of open access in Latin America, reflects on “Plan S”, and gives a series of recommendations. In particular, the report urges decision-makers to develop and promote a joint vision for the future of open access that reflects the Latin American perspective, and recommends actions for other stakeholders in the system, emphasizing the central role of S&T organisations in achieving this vision.

The report contains several recommendations related to repositories including:

  • Favour a distributed, interoperable model with national, regional, and global aggregators, where each layer offers value-added services, as reflected in the vision for Next Generation Repositories published by Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR).
  • Strengthen the role of repositories in the scientific communication and research information management ecosystem. Repositories are not only a place to deposit and preserve articles, but also to share a wide range of other valuable research outputs.
  • Support relationships across networks in order to strengthen local, regional and national repository services.  LA Referencia already collaborates closely with OpenAIRE and participates in COAR aligning repository networks discussions. These relationships are being enhanced to include other value-added interoperable services such as standard and distributed statistics, notification systems (“brokers”), and alternatives for the use of scientific data repositories such as Zenodo (operated by CERN)….”

Amelica: First Biannual Report

“AmeliCA has reached its first six months of experience seeking to consolidate a collaborative, sustainable, protected and non-commercial Open Access solution for Latin America and the Global South. AmeliCA’s goal —as well as the organizations’ that take part in it— is to build a sustained, academy-led and academy-owned communication system. AmeliCA is a mutual agreement, where Latin America and the Global South shape strategies. Its achievements are presented in this First biannual report….”

Should India adopt Plan S to realise Open Access to Public-funded Scientific Research?

“Timely and affordable access to scientific research remains a problem in this digital day and age. Around three decades ago, the radical response that emerged was making public-funded scientific research “open access”, i.e. publishing it on the Web without any legal, technical or financial barriers to access and use such research. Several Indian public research institutions also adopted open access mandates and built self-archiving digital tools, however, the efforts haven’t yielded much. Most countries including India, continue to struggle with implementing open access. The latest international initiative (created in Europe) to remedy this problem is Plan S. Plan S is has been positioned as a strategy to implement immediate open access to scientific publications from 2021 – which India is considering adopting. This article unpacks the disorderly growth of open access in India, and discusses the gap between the Plan’s vision and current Indian scenario in some respects….”

The associativity evaluation between open data and country characteristics | The Electronic Library | Vol 37, No 2

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this study is to review the levels of open government data (OGD) among various countries that are not consistent with the development levels of those countries. This study evaluates the associativity between OGD Index (OGD) and the characteristics of those countries as well as to compare the degree of OGD among countries. Accordingly, an advanced discussion to explore how a country’s characteristics affect how that country’s government opens data was presented.



The stakeholder relationships of OGD is analysed with the characteristics of a country. The usage data are compared with the data availability according to nine indicators. These data collected from the statistics and OGDI websites are grouped for comparative statistical analyses based on basic descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance and a regression model with variance inflation faction.



The results 1) revealed the reasons some countries have high-ranking indexes and 2) verified the high index values of countries in terms of their degrees of development. This study, thus, attempted to derive a balanced appraisal of national development and OGD.


Research limitations/implications

The study sample is limited only to countries 1) which open the statistical data; and 2) are of uneven population density and development degree. The OGDI is limited to expert evaluation. The score might be vary to experts and users with diverse countries at different evaluation period. The limitations can be attributed to the differences between OGDI and real open levels. These differences might influence the reliability and validity.

Practical implications

Government departments with OGD policies provide raw data in various formats and with application interfaces for user access. This study, thus, attempts to derive a balanced appraisal of national development and OGD. The factors that evaluate which types of countries open the level of data are explored.


This study establishes stakeholder relationships of OGD and extends to analyse the characteristics of a country and OGD that affect the government data open level. The relationships are evaluated through the OGDI with design score scheme. The measurement results indicated that a country possesses high relation to open data with high DI and nature resource.

Opinion: We need a digital revolution in global public health | Devex

“Yet for all of the world’s innovations in data and data science — apps that hail taxis and online services that deliver groceries — we have yet to harness these advances for the health of mothers and children. As a global community, we must commit to making the fruits of data science available not only to the rich and powerful, but also to the poor, disenfranchised, and most at risk….

We are at a turning point where data can either be enlisted as an ally in the fight for better health for all, or we can instead allow the data revolution to drive us further apart….

Tools developed by different funders or technology providers may not be compatible with each other. Ministries of health and the nongovernmental organizations that provide frontline care are not fully equipped to take advantage of digital health tools once they become available. Data-sharing agreements that enable life-saving insights while also ensuring privacy and responsible use of personal data have not been developed….”


Plan S and the Transformation of Scholarly Communication: Are We Missing the Woods? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“My initial disclaimer, if it’s not obvious, is that I am completely supportive of the driving principles and objectives of Plan S. I lead an organization [PLoS] that is – and always has been – Plan S compliant from top to toe. But more than that, I share the goal of a future in which the research literature is fully and immediately open with liberal rights of reuse. And so, I am pleased to see that this bold goal not only remains unchanged but that the feedback process has encouraged (or, in some cases, perhaps forced) stakeholders to support these general principles …

With that battle won, the question is now all about the transition. The revised guidelines show evidence of having listened to stakeholder concerns without watering down the fundamental principles. That’s key, but there are also a number of positive changes that both help to clear up confusion and should make the transition easier….”


“This book is the fourth full study of serious gold open access—open access articles in open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. This and previous editions are available as free PDF ebooks or paperbacks priced to cover production costs.

Thanks to SPARC’s continued support, I was able to update the database to include all journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals as of very early January 1, 2019 and to add 2018 counts and earlier counts as needed (and sometimes refine subject assignments).

This book follows the pattern of the previous versions but includes some notable changes for clarity and meaningfulness. These changes are discussed in Chapter 1; the most obvious ones are an increased emphasis on articles, decreased emphasis on percentages of no-fee journals, and the change from “APC” to “fee” and “free” to “no-fee.” Additionally, the OAWorld/APCLand split has been abandoned since it never caught on—and “visibility” was abandoned as a not-very-useful measure. A new Key Facts table replaces the old Journals and Articles table, providing a more useful quick look at any subset of journals.

Gold Open Access by Country 2013-2018 will appear a few weeks after this book appears. tShird book, Gold Open Access 2013-2018: Subject and Publisher Profiles, will appear a few weeks after that. Part or all of some books will appear as issues of what’s left of Cites & Insights….”

Understanding the Impact of OER: Achievements and Challenges – UNESCO IITE

The publication “Understanding the Impact of OER: Achievements and Challenges” is the result of partnership between the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) and OER Africa, an initiative established by Saide.

It critically reviews the growth of open educational resources (OER) and its potential impact on education systems around the world; and points at some significant achievements as well as key challenges hindering the growth and potential of OER that need to be addressed.

The publication summarizes the conclusions of a series of country case studies conducted by experts from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Slovenia, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom. It seeks to shed light on such important issues as the economic and pedagogical value of investing in OER; the role of OER in fostering diversity, inclusion, and in purposively pursuing quality improvement and innovation; and, finally, the extent to which these important issues are being researched.

The publication is addressed to decision-makers, educators and innovators, and is aimed to stimulate the debate about the impact of OER and encourage governments to engage with OER in ways that drive defined pedagogical improvements, while encouraging equity and diversity in global knowledge networks….”

Open access: remember doctors in developing countries | The BMJ

Just as patients’ access to journals is important,1 so is the access of doctors in developing countries. Here, institutional access to scientific literature is rare, unlike in most Western countries. Subscribing to four or five ‘‘must have’’ journals, even when subsidised, costs two or three months of salary. Though subscription rates are understandable, they should not stop someone gaining desired knowledge. The excitement when a new study is published on a topic of interest soon vanishes when you know you can’t afford it….

The biggest service journals could do for patients and medical society is to increase subsidies or make access completely free to facilitate research in the developing world. Perhaps in a few years’ time, when young doctors see a great publication their next thought will be, “This is great. I’m going to learn a lot from this paper” rather than “If I buy this, will I be able to pay the rent?” “

“Open Access” and the Fate of Knowledge from Africa: A Theoretical Discussion on JSTOR

Abstract:  Open Access, is often understood as referring to the free circulation of research outputs from and to all parts of the planet. It is argued that this definition is deceptive because it ignores the fact that the imposition of the epistemological paradigm of the hegemonic culture on the indigenous people of Africa translates to the partial destruction of their epistemological paradigm. The thesis that this author defends is that Open Access ought to be preceded by the “open production of knowledge.” This is necessary so that the research that becomes freely available globally through Open Access genuinely reflects the diversity of its knowledges and producers