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 (email@example.com), 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
"Science, in my opinion, as well as literature is universal
and must be integrated and spread to all people", declared
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
In the sequence, Velterop drew which factors hinder the ample scientific
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.
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
|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
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."
In accord with Velterop proposal, some Latin American countries
representatives had presented proposals already in development in
their countries. First, Graciela Muñoz (firstname.lastname@example.org),
scientific publishing of the Eletronic Journal of Biotechnology
(EJB), of the Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso and Atilio
Bustos González (email@example.com), head of the Library System
of the Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso brought the EJB
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
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%
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
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
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, (firstname.lastname@example.org),
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
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
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",
For the next years, Infomed will invest on establishment of a virtual
library and university and will extend the telemedicine services.
Concluding the panel, Rogerio Meneghini (email@example.com), 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
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 - www.scielo.br/bjmbr).
"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.