Press Releases

Positive perspectives

With the last panel of the conference, it is concluded that there are ways to make possible high quality electronic scientific publications, with free access and with real impact in the science valuation of the developing countries

Jan Velterop (, publisher of the BioMed Central, a pioneering publication in open access, presented the opening of the last panel of the ICSEP, regarding to the chances that electronic scientific vehicles of communication can offer to the developing countries.
"Science, in my opinion, as well as literature is universal and must be integrated and spread to all people", declared Velterop.
He presented arguments in defense of the free access of published scientific articles, without taxes to the researchers. "We do science to improve the world, the people, and the societies. Why would this knowledge belong to all? Why science cannot be accessible to all scientists and society?"
First of all, Velterop let clear to the audience his position about copyrights in case of a major massive spread of papers. In his opinion, copyrights move away people from knowledge. This should be a law applied only for books, music and works of art - not for science. Copyright should be used to only preserve the integrity of the published article.
In the sequence, Velterop drew which factors hinder the ample scientific spreading currently:

Will it be more access to science if the value of the access on Internet was cheaper?
Yes. Despite this, we still do not have universal access.

Prestige is independent of quality. An author with prestige necessarily needs to have a quality work. However, he can still have quality in articles without prestige.
Prestige is an impact factor?
Yes, but the impact factor is generally inversely proportional to its usability in the market.
The impact factor can not be the only tool to evaluate quality of publication of a scientist or a research institute. We have to find a new form of measure scientific articles.

Economic distortion
Why the scientific periodicals are so expensive?
It is the paradigm between the publication and the cost of maintenance of an electronic journal. Currently this money comes from the system users. But in any respectable economy who pays the bill is the one to choose. Would the users have this choice? Users neither need to have all the possible sources of information to their disposal, but it nor always happens.

"Solutions that can be used to extend the dissemination of science are difficult not for its conception, but because they involve paradigm breaks", affirms Velterop. "We need to modify the model of economy in science and the BioMed is an example of this initiative, offering free completely access to its users."

The model that the BioMed offers can be summarized in the picture bellow:

Current model Model considered for the BioMed
Author transfers copyrights to the publishing Author keeps its copyrights
Publishing charges for the access to articles Publishing charges the author or the scientific support institution on publication tax
Has content commercialization Has services commercialization
  Free access

When the author submits an article on BioMed system, he is aware that his work will be free access. So, the author liberates all copyrights of full or part reproduction in any media or dissemination form, respecting, obviously, the indication of the text and without having modification of the paper conclusion.
The authors or support institutions pay the equivalent USS 500 for the article publication.
In exchange, BioMed organizes peer-review, formatting, HTML, PDF, among other services.
Beyond the author visibility, Velterop believes that the free access of the scientific works brings advantages to the user (that beyond not paying, does not need to be worried if the library has or not the printed article) and to the libraries (that will have low cost to buy complete article collections).
"What each one can make to promote free access?" asked Velterop. He himself answered. "Authors must look to libraries and electronic journals with this service. The libraries must place the URL of the free access sites on the articles reference. The user must search scientific studies in free access sites and put its reference on their works. The support companies and institutions can recognize the validity of the free access and the necessity of the economic paradigms change in science. People in general can divulge the system and advocate on its favor."

Chilean Initiative

In accord with Velterop proposal, some Latin American countries representatives had presented proposals already in development in their countries. First, Graciela Muñoz (, scientific publishing of the Eletronic Journal of Biotechnology (EJB), of the Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso and Atilio Bustos González (, head of the Library System of the Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso brought the EJB case.
From 1986 to 1999 worldwide scientific production increased 14%. The United States are still leader in ranking, followed by Europe. In Latin America, the main countries in scientific production are Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. The production also grew in Asia, with prominence of China and Japan.
"Why English is the official language in science, the ISI (Institute of Scientific Information) has the standard of criteria and indicators in the world and the United States are universally recognized for its science?", asked Graciela. The answer is simple: because of EEUU strong governmental support.
As the developing countries governments do not have many resources nor politics science investment, the electronic scientific publications could be a handspike of dissemination of the scientific production in these countries. And even that, many periodicals insist on keeping its paper journals. "Should be because of status?", questioned Graciela.
The EJB is a successful Chilean scientific publication initiative of free access. It was elaborated inside of ISI standards. It is total free, offers peer-review and has users from all over the world (35% North Americans, 31% Latin Americans, 31% Europeans and 3% Asians).
The EJB receives and publishes papers of all regions (only 32% is the total of the submissions from Latin America). They have 43,000 visits per month and more than 1,3 million monthly hits.
To reach world regions without Internet access, the team of the EJB it edits a CD Rom on each new journal including all previous numbers. It is distributed, with the Acrobat Reader program, by UNESCO to the poorest countries.

An idea is better than a thousand words

To give a simple message, clearly and essential: the network is possible and necessary. This was the goal fully reached by Dominique Babini (, coordinator of the Information Area of the Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO).
The organization, created in 1967 to promote the scientific research in all fields of social sciences to improve the education and the cooperation in America Latina and the Caribbean region, keeps associates of 131 different localities. The CLACSO members together gather 5,000 full time researchers. Some 500 of these professionals are directly involved with the production of 500 books and 2,000 annual articles in average. "Our primary challenge is to congregate all the members in net-actions", clarified Dominique.
To eliminate distances, they had started three years ago an integration experience - the Regional the Social Virtual Science Library. CLACSO is looking for a strong collaboration of e-publishing and e-library activities in the region to work together pending issues of common interest: indexing e-publications, subject retrieval, full-text web access, copyright management, open standards, online payment of small information units. "Let's work together", stimulated Dominique.

A challenge that turn to a win

Cuba surpassed economic difficulties, the North American embargo and kept its scientist up to date with the best worldwide scientific production. On Guillermo Padrón, (, from the Editorial Ciencias Medicas - Infomed, opinion this was only possible because of the unconditional government support and the decision to value the human component in all the projects of public health.
Infomed was born during the 90´s Cuban crisis with the clearly objective to divulge up to top the country scientific production. "It developed under the worse possible economic conditions", declared Padrón. There were no resources to high technology acquisition. "But we had total support of our ministry of Public Health that sensibilized scientific support organizations in the world."

Strategically components

The described tools on Infomed project includes a virtual library, virtual universities, telemedicine, network on monitoring health and the sustainable management
Not all these tools are active, however the Infomed place all its data to on a free archive bases to users. Besides, Cuban organisms of health are constructing data base with Infomed to educators, workshops and update courses spread all over the country.
"We achieve this with government support, mobilization of resources, strategy, organization and person valuation instead of technology. Bad economic scenery does not need to be a barrier, but an incentive", finished Padrón.
For the next years, Infomed will invest on establishment of a virtual library and university and will extend the telemedicine services.

Publications impact

Concluding the panel, Rogerio Meneghini (, director of the Centro de Biologia Molecular Estrutural do Laboratório Nacional de Luz Sincrotron, in Brazil, presented data that proves that the Latin American scientific production had become more visible.
He based this information on a SciELO case study. "I see Brazilian science as an iceberg. We divulge on a worldwide base just a small part of our production. I yearned for a data base that could provide pointers to evaluate the in-house scientific production. So I knew the SciELO project", said Meneghini.
SciELO is a methodology that has made possible to bring a much higher visibility for the Brazilians papers but also to construct a database that begins to become sufficiently robust to permit studies of the dynamics of the flux of scientific information in-house as well as abroad.
After a deep study on the SciELO data, Meneghini concluded on his presentation that the impact of the SciELO publications on ISI increased (in average 42%, but some had achieved 75%, as the Brazilian Medical Journal of Biological Research -
"I can affirm that SciELO offers more visibility to its periodic and I am sure that there is scientific life below the Brazilian iceberg that must be considered by the scientific community", locked up Meneghini.


In the closing session of ICSEP, Abel Packer, director of BIREME/OPS/OMS, affirmed that the objectives of the congress in bringing new refresh regarding electronic scientific publications, as well as presenting examples of successful ideas and new challenges for the publishers had been totally achieved.
The proposal launched by the lecturers and participants is that the ICSEP becomes a regular annual meeting.
Packer and Ana Maria Cetto, da Universidad Autónoma de Mexico, Ana María Prat, do CONICYT e Atilio Bustos Gonzáles, da Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, had thanked all the organization of the event, and the chance to work together.



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