“No Publication Favelas! Latin America’s Vision for Open Access” by Monica Berger | ACRL 2021 presentation

by Monica Berger, CUNY New York City College of Technology

Abstract: Open access was intended to be the great equalizer but its promise has not come to fruition in many lower-income countries of the Global South. Under-resourcing is only one of the many reasons why these scholars and publishers are marginalized. In order to examine inequality in our global scholarly communications system, we can compare a negative and a positive outgrowth of this imbalance. Predatory publishing represents a a weak imitation of traditional, commercial journal publishing. In contrast, Latin America’s community-based, quality scholarly infrastructure is anti-colonial. It can be argued that Latin America’s publishing infrastructure represents one solution to predatory publishing. As the future of open access is debated, it is critical that we look to Latin America as we support new models that reject legacy commercial journal publishing and support bibliodiversity.

Jeffrey Beall infamously called Brazil’s SciELO a “publishing favela” or slum. Yet Latin America represents an important exception to the problem of underdevelopment of scholarly communications in the Global South. In order to begin to better understand the marginalization of the Global South and Latin America’s success, we need to unpack the history of open access, its overemphasis on the reader as opposed to the author, and how notions of development influenced its discourse. This focus on the reader is neo-Colonialist, positioning scholars from the Global South as “downloaders” and not “uploaders,” whose scholarship is peripheral.

Lacking alternative publishing options, predatory publishing, or amateurish, low quality publishing, exploited this gap. In its pathetic imitation of international, corporate publishing, predatory publishing is neo-Colonial and a form of “faux” open access where subaltern authors, editors, and publishers poorly imitate Global North corporate publishing. Predatory publishing is a sad simulacra with real world damage. Since predatory publishing is overwhelming based in the Global South and many of its authors based in the Global South, it tarnishes the reputation of all scholarship from less developed countries. In contrast, predatory authorship and publishing are rare in Latin America.

Latin America is an exemplar of sustainable and humane open access. Heather Morrison deemed Latin American as a “long-time peerless leader in open access.” The advent of Plan S, a rapid flip to open access, is accelerating the co-option of open access by large, commercial publishers predicating a variety of negative outcomes. In contrast, the Latin American concept of bibliodiversity represents an important alternative model. No one size fits all and a local vision governs. Bibliodiversity interrogates the presumption that all scholarship must be English-language. It also values indigenous and local knowledge as well as lay readers. Redalyc and SciELO include measures for research collaboration. Various regional scholarly organizations cooperate, sharing expertise, providing training in editorial and technical best practices. This cooperation has expanded to a global scale. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories and SPARC are partnering with LA Referencia and others, expanding Latin America’s vision globally, generating a meaningful alternative model for open access.

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Slides with talk transcript and sources as presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, ACRL 2021: Ascending into an Open Future, held virtually, April 16, 2021.

What is “Open Access,” Really? – A Comic – HAZINE

“As a movement in information sciences, [OA] has been praised, but in our particular contexts, in mine as someone who lives in the Arabic-speaking world, I wonder about its limitations. What does “available for all” truly mean? 

What open access is can be defined by cultural factors, like language, history and even the significance of computer literacy. I presented on this with N.A. Mansour at the Digital Orientalisms Twitter Conference in 2020 in both Arabic and English. But we thought a visual medium might help us provoke thought on this issue even more. …”

What is “Open Access,” Really? – A Comic – HAZINE

“As a movement in information sciences, [OA] has been praised, but in our particular contexts, in mine as someone who lives in the Arabic-speaking world, I wonder about its limitations. What does “available for all” truly mean? 

What open access is can be defined by cultural factors, like language, history and even the significance of computer literacy. I presented on this with N.A. Mansour at the Digital Orientalisms Twitter Conference in 2020 in both Arabic and English. But we thought a visual medium might help us provoke thought on this issue even more. …”

Helsinki Initiative on Multilingualism in Scholarly Communication | helsinki-initiative.org

“Research is international. That’s the way we like it! Multilingualism keeps locally relevant research alive. Protect it! Disseminating research results in your own language creates impact. Endorse it! It is vital to interact with society and share knowledge beyond academia. Promote it! Infrastructure of scholarly communication in national languages is fragile. Don’t lose it!

The signatories of the Helsinki Initiative on Multilingualism in Scholarly Communication support the following recommendations to be adopted by policy-makers, leaders, universities, research institutions, research funders, libraries, and researchers:…”

Guest Post – The Words We Live By: Our Ideas and Values as the Catalyst for Action – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Like a choir singing in unison, we (scholarly communication professionals) resolutely lift our voices in support of advancing knowledge (enlightenment) for the benefit of humanity. And you can count me in! But remove the rosy lens for a second and consider how we measure the “for the benefit of humanity” part. One indicator that I explore throughout this self-reflection — global inequality — has gotten worse over time despite scientific advancements. We broadly discuss access; however, more open access (OA) publications or transformative agreements won’t solve humanity’s most pressing problems if living in a world society stricken by poverty and privilege remains the status quo….

Galvanize funders, publishers, and open infrastructure partners to expand language support for OA articles, preprints, datasets, and metadata. DOAJ could also play a key role in advancing language support by including language support elements in their indexing requirements….”

Guest Post – The Words We Live By: Our Ideas and Values as the Catalyst for Action – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Like a choir singing in unison, we (scholarly communication professionals) resolutely lift our voices in support of advancing knowledge (enlightenment) for the benefit of humanity. And you can count me in! But remove the rosy lens for a second and consider how we measure the “for the benefit of humanity” part. One indicator that I explore throughout this self-reflection — global inequality — has gotten worse over time despite scientific advancements. We broadly discuss access; however, more open access (OA) publications or transformative agreements won’t solve humanity’s most pressing problems if living in a world society stricken by poverty and privilege remains the status quo….

Galvanize funders, publishers, and open infrastructure partners to expand language support for OA articles, preprints, datasets, and metadata. DOAJ could also play a key role in advancing language support by including language support elements in their indexing requirements….”

When more is more: A DORA Community Discussion on Multilingualism in Scholarly Communication | DORA

“The webinar began with a discussion of the benefits of scholarship in native and national languages to both local communities and the international community. Zehra Ta?k?n provided an example of an instance where publications in the local language help local communities. The Polish silviculture industry relies on Polish-language studies of the forests which cover 8.6M ha (about 28%) of the country’s surface, many of which are published in the journal Sylwan. When locally relevant studies are published in the local language, findings can be utilized directly; if published in a non-national language, the local community may be barred from having direct access to scientific analyses. On the level of public understanding, Zehra pointed out that articles published in local languages can play a role in combatting misinformation and public misconceptions. Particularly during uncertain times such as the COVID-19 crisis, Zehra believes that having research published in the language of the public is especially important….”

COAR, TCC Africa and AfricArXiv sign partnership agreement – AfricArXiv

“We are pleased to announce that the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) and TCC Africa in collaboration with AfricArXiv have signed a partnership agreement focused on strengthening capacity and infrastructure for Open Science in Africa. …

The aim of the partnership is to work together to foster the concept of bibliodiversity through information sharing, capacity building, and advocacy work, as well as enable AfricArXiv to engage with international peers in Africa and globally about best practices and next generation repository functionalities….”

Ouvrir la Science – Activités de Knowledge Exchange | Partenaires pour améliorer le service à l’ESR

Knowledge Exchange (KE) brings together six organizations from six countries. Their common objective is to examine the issues related to research support and infrastructure and service development.

Members:

CNRS (France),
CSC (Finland),
DEIC (Denmark),
DFG   (Germany),
JISC (United Kingdom),
SURF (Netherlands).

Recent results:

About monographs;

A landscape study on open access and monographs –  DOI: 10.5281 / zenodo.815932
Knowledge Exchange Survey on Open Access Monographs – DOI: 10.5281 / zenodo.1475446
Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs – DOI: 10.5281 / zenodo.3238545

Preprints

Accelerating scholarly communication – The transformative role of preprints – DOI: 10.5281 / zenodo.3357727

Economy of Open Science

Insights into the Economy of Open Scholarship: A Collection of Interviews – DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.2840171
Open Scholarship and the need for collective action – DOI 10.5281/zenodo.3454688

 

Disadvantages in preparing and publishing scientific papers caused by the dominance of the English language in science: The case of Colombian researchers in biological sciences

Abstract:  The success of a scientist depends on their production of scientific papers and the impact factor of the journal in which they publish. Because most major scientific journals are published in English, success is related to publishing in this language. Currently, 98% of publications in science are written in English, including researchers from English as a Foreign Language (EFL) countries. Colombia is among the countries with the lowest English proficiency in the world. Thus, understanding the disadvantages that Colombians face in publishing is crucial to reducing global inequality in science. This paper quantifies the disadvantages that result from the language hegemony in scientific publishing by examining the additional costs that communicating in English creates in the production of articles. It was identified that more than 90% of the scientific articles published by Colombian researchers are in English, and that publishing in a second language creates additional financial costs to Colombian doctoral students and results in problems with reading comprehension, writing ease and time, and anxiety. Rejection or revision of their articles because of the English grammar was reported by 43.5% of the doctoral students, and 33% elected not to attend international conferences and meetings due to the mandatory use of English in oral presentations. Finally, among the translation/editing services reviewed, the cost per article is between one-quarter and one-half of a doctoral monthly salary in Colombia. Of particular note, we identified a positive correlation between English proficiency and higher socioeconomic origin of the researcher. Overall, this study exhibits the negative consequences of hegemony of English that preserves the global gap in science. Although having a common language is important for science communication, generating multilinguistic alternatives would promote diversity while conserving a communication channel. Such an effort should come from different actors and should not fall solely on EFL researchers.