Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, November 12, 2007

OA in Brazil

Sely Costa, The Open Access Movement in Brazil, EPT, November 12, 2007.  (Thanks to Barbara Kirsop.)  Excerpt:

The open access movement in Brazil, as everywhere else, has constituted a challenging cause to embrace. Both IBICT [Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia] and SciELO [Scientific Electronic Library Online] have been involved with the movement, taking the lead in most of the initiatives in the country.

Declarations to support OA

From 2005, a number of declarations have been issued in Brazil, undersigned by either individuals or civil society entities, by means of their representatives. There are, so far, at least four major declarations issued in Brazil, following the Berlin Declaration. One has been issued by IBICT at the 57th Annual Meeting of SBPC. The other three have been issued by a Psychology Learned Society, the participants of an international conference in health sciences and a group of researchers from the state of São Paulo.

Events to promote OA

A number of events that have taken place in Brazil include OA in their programmes. The last three annual meetings of the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC) had a special session on OA (see [this] and [this]). Proceedings of the 59th meeting, when Stevan Harnad and Brazilians leaders of the movement participated in a special session, will be available soon. OA has also featured in annual meetings of learned societies (eg in information science, health sciences, communication science and psychology.

In April 2006, the First Cipecc - Ibero American Conference in Electronic Publishing in the context of Scholarly Communication, Brasilia, was very successful, with participants from 6 countries (Mexico, Chile, Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Canada), and 13 Brazilian states. It offered a unique opportunity to make open access, institutional repositories and other topics known and discussed by people from Ibero-America as a whole and Brazil in particular. The conference website contains all papers and presentations. In November 2006, a group of researchers from Brazil, along with researchers and librarians from Portugal, as well as a librarian from Mozambique held a meeting at the University of Minho, in Portugal, to discuss the open access movement in Portuguese speaking countries.  From this meeting, the Minho Commitment resulted as an important document to this community. As a follow-up to this, on November 13th 2007, a seminar, Open Access Seminar to the Scientific Knowledge in Portuguese Speaking Countries, is taking place in Rio de Janeiro, as part of a Brazil/United Nations meeting. Representatives of 8 Portuguese speaking countries are expected to sign up the Rio de Janeiro Protocol, which establishes the aims of the commitment. Notices of this event will be delivered soon after the meeting at Dr. Kuramoto’s blog and at the Open Access in Portuguese Speaking Countries web page, a site dedicated to the topic for this community.

Steps to implement OA initiatives

One of the most promising recent Brazilian initiatives was the meeting held at the University of Brasilia (UnB), as a joint event by IBICT and the university. The purpose of the meeting was to establish the foundations of a Brazilian movement for Open Access to scientific and scholarly publications: the Brazilian Open Access Task Force (BOAT Force). This initiative aims to establish, at the universities and research institutions in Brazil, institutional repositories, mandate policies and the OASIS.Br, a central service to both repositories and e-journals published in the country. The University of Brasilia is positioning itself as a pioneer, with the unprecedented support of its rector, Professor Timothy Martin Mulholland. Clearly, much of this movement is now considered the way of the future for scientific publication and the ambition is to spread this message across Brazil.

Publications to disseminate OA

A growing number of articles have been published on open access and the open archives initiatives in Brazilian scholarly journals. Early articles mostly describe open archives initiatives. A special issue of Ciência da Informação, published by IBICT in 2006, is entirely dedicated to the subject, with articles from Kuramoto, Southwick, Sinay; Michelson, and Rosales, Bauste, Guzmán and Bianco reporting ongoing projects in Latin America countries. A new ‘open philosophy’ and a new model for scholarly publishing was the subject of Costa. Mueller discusses the degree of acceptance related to the level of legitimacy in which open access publications are held. Finally, Schirmbacher, from the Humboldt University at Berlin, describes some actual changes that are taking place in communication processes, in services department held by research institutions, libraries and computer centers. Another recent article from Baptista, Costa, Kuramoto and Rodrigues was published in a special issue of Encontros Bibli, published by the Post-Graduate Programme in Information Science at the University of Santa Catarina and also dedicated to OA.

Courses to teach OA

In a very recent activity, OA is being taught in a special seminar, as part of the Post-Graduate Programme in Information Science at the University of Brasilia. The seminar is part of the activities of the research group in electronic publications, named moitarah and lead by professor Sely Costa. The seminar includes collaboration of specialists like Stevan Harnad, Peter Suber, Leslie Chan and John Willinsky, who have provided suggestions on both the content of the seminar and readings for the students. Besides studying the topic, students are working on a book to be published. The specialists are also expected to contribute with a chapter to the book, and some of them should participate in the next event on OA, to be held at the University of Brasilia, in April 9-11, 2008. The OA Brazilian book will be launched during the event, and openly distributed on the Internet. News about April’s meeting will be available soon at moitarah blog and, later on its own web page.

Note: a number of the URL’s in this piece are from sites or blogs still under construction, and many in Portuguese.

Comment.  This is a wonderfully useful and heartening report of very impressive progress.