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R2020, a platform with principles

At SPARC, Nick Schokey has revealed the topic for the 2019 International Open Access Week: “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Access,” confronting us, Open Access followers, with one question: “Whose interests are being prioritized in the infrastructure we support? Before this, we ask: “Is the visibility provided by platforms more important than supporting the scholarly communication principles and models they promote?”

Hence, we are pleased to introduce at Ameli Blog Redalyc’s new phase (R2020). With this evolution Redalyc makes clear that Openness has principles and, based on its requirements, agreed too by AmeliCA, clearly shares the route it considers worthy to be taken for progress and the direction in which it wants to influence.

The following is the official statementEduardo Aguado-López and Arianna Becerril-García announced for R2020’s launch:

R2020 launched on August 15th: the evolution of a non-profit communication infrastructure by and for the academy that leans towards semantic technology

It was on the 15th anniversary —August 25th, 2017- of the Network of Scientific Journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal, known also as Scientific Information System Redalyc, that its new phase was announced. From then onwards, we have been working, principally, on three paths:

1) Support for journals so that they embrace transition to digital publishing. Accordingly, we have consolidated XML JATS (Marcalyc) markup system, training hundreds of editors and modifying the platform in order to allow on-going editing and the inclusion of Open Data as part of the consolidation of the digital editorial process.

2) Reassessment of hundreds of journals so that their criteria compliance be transparent, and that evidence may be provided to all users, with this, journals’ editorial strength and quality will be visible.

3) To value local multilingual production and rescue the sense of publishing as an act of communication, Redalyc has adhered —along with main publishers, universities, funders and researchers— to San Francisco Declaration DORA, which calls for assessment based on the work’s own merits rather than on its publication venue. We encourage journals and authors to join us in doing the same. Indeed, Latindex, Redalyc and CLACSO, the three most important organizations in matters of regional publishing, issued a statement where they declare their adhesion to DORA.

These have been two years of great labour to attain transition to digital publishing leaving electronic publishing behind (traditional layout, printing and PDF), such aim was reaffirmed at the 3rd Redalyc Editors International Conference held at Trujillo, Peru in 2018.

We are convinced that the cost of journals that embrace editing processes that are characteristic of digital journals lowers. Additionally, Redalyc offers Marcalyc, a tool to achieve that process and obtain the added values at an article level (PDF, ePUB, HTML, intelligent and mobile viewer) created through XML JATS and provided by Marcalyc once the tagging process is finished.

By the same token, we have developed technologies in order to make the most of structured and linked data’s potential as well as a set of metrics. Nonetheless it is impossible that such technology should be applicable to journals that have not made a transition to digital publishing via XML JATS.

Journals that share this model include:

  Editorial and scientific quality
 An Open Access policy free of processing and/or publishing charges (APC);
  A vision to acknowledge the need to overcome the evaluation process based on the impact factor, signing the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

It is widely known that the launch of Plan S and its objectives and ultimate implementation systems —published on May 31st— propose as one of the main routes the substitution of a pay-for-reading model for a pay-for-publishing one.

Several regional (e.g. AmeliCALa ReferenciaCLACSO, etc.) and global (e.g. COARSPARCFOAAOpenAireOpen Library of Humanities, etc.) institutions have described this model as a serious hindrance to join the global conversation. As we have repeatedly stated, for over more than 30 years Latin America has had a publishing model supported with public resources without APC for which we will continue working, to strengthen and encourage it. If we have criticised this model wherever possible, illogical the idea would be that journals —that chose APC— may benefit from an infrastructure that aims to hinder the promotion of such model in our region.

Our data confirms that APC fits not in Latin America: based on DOAJ’s data, out of the 2530 Latin American journals less than 5% (122) charge APC, of which 73% are Brazilian, they only represent 6.5% of Brazil’s journals, however.

In the market a XML JATS costs between $30 and $50 dollars per article. If we set its cost at a minimum of $20 dollars and consider that for a trained technician the complete tagging in Marcalyc of a social sciences article takes an hour, and half an hour when it is an exact and natural sciences article, Redalyc gives the editors at least $100 dollars per article: $20 per XML JATS, $20 per PDF, $20 per HTML, $20 per ePUB, $20 per reader (view). These reading formats may be downloaded, personalised —with the journal’s and institution’s logo— and may be offered in the journal’s own website or easily inserted in OJS.

The regional editorial ecosystem is fenced. The submission of councils of science and technology’s and universities’ assessment systems. That institutional aims are submitted to the Impact Factor and are part of WoS-Scopus as an internationalisation and performance measure requires to take proper steps and responsible work to reassess research and assessment work.

At present it is absolutely necessary to reassess our region’s production, local themes and multilingual writing. At this moment in time, universities’ councils of science and technology and assessment systems in Latin America are dismantling virtually their countries’ and institutions’ editorial system as they, based on the impact factor, promote, support and provide incentives for journals. Importantly, we need to rescue the scientific article’s sense of the content, quality, suitability, strength and implications since all of this remains hidden, unseen when assessment rests on publishing venues (journal) as opposed to on what is being published (content).

Consequently, signing DORA as hundreds of regional and global institutions already have is Redalyc’s requirement. Demonstrating thus that it is also looking for more appropriate and responsible ways of assessment.

Founded in 1945 by Sartre, Beauvior and Merleau-Ponty, the journal ‘Les temps modernes’ came to its end with its 700th issue. Its clear support for the anti or decolonisation processes is recognised. Emblematic though this journal was, its end reveals the current hardships of scholarly publishing.

Rephrasing Les temps modernes‘s first publisher, Redalyc states it will not falter before the times scholarly publishing is facing. Our aim is to have an impact on scholarly communication and scientific publishing at a regional and global level, uniting the voices of various stakeholders (countries, institutions, editors, authors) that share a scholarly publishing model that semantic technology leverages and that is non-profit and academy-owned. In summary, a strategy to attain an inclusive and sustainable science communication system. A model by and for the academy.

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