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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 activists, 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 open has principles and, based on its requirements, agreed by AmeliCA as well, clearly shares the route it considers worthy to be taken towards progress and the direction in which it wants to influence.

The following is the official statement in which Eduardo Aguado-López and Arianna Becerril-García announced 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 of the Network of Scientific Journals of Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal, also known as Redalyc Scientific Information System, August 25th, 2017, that its new phase was announced. From then on 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 digital editorial process’s consolidation.

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 a communication act, Redalyc has committed –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 so. Indeed, Latindex, Redalyc and CLACSO, the three most important organizations in matters of regional publishing, issued a statement where they declare their commitment to DORA.

These have been two years of great labour to attain a 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. Besides Redalyc offers Marcalyc, a tool to achieve that process and obtain the added values at an article level (PDF, ePUB, HTML, Reader [view]) created through XML JATS and provided by Marcalyc once the 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 be digital via XML JATS.

Hence, as we have informed our editors, as of August 15th, 2019, the indexed journals in Redalyc will be only those that:

  Have carried out reassessment
  Have XML JATS articles
  Do not have processing and/or publishing charges (APC)
  Have signed 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 repeatedly state, 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. We have criticised this model wherever possible, and so illogical the idea is that journals –that chose APC– may benefit from an infrastructure that aims to hinder the promotion of such model in our region.

Our data confirm that APC fits not in Latin America: based on DOAJ’s data, from 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 –journal’s logo and institution– 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 de colonisation 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 our region’s and global level, gathering efforts from 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.

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