“Publishers and Publishing Stances”: workshop report
This is a report from the workshop, “Publishers and Publishing Stances: A Contribution to Multilingualism and Bibliodiversity“, that took place on the 22nd of April and was organized by the OPERAS Special Interest Groups in Multilingualism and Advocacy, in partnership with the projects OPERAS-P and TRIPLE and with the Portuguese Association of University Presses (APEES).
The workshop was divided into two panels. The first one addressed the results, findings and recommendations from the first multi-institutional study on the Open Access Diamond Journals, with a special focus on the Latin-American context. The first panel was moderated by Delfim Leão, Vice-Rector for Culture and Open Science at the University of Coimbra. The speakers included Pierre Mounier, community coordinator of OPERAS and deputy director of OpenEdition; and Arianna Becerril-García, founder member of Redalyc (Network of Scientific Journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal) and professor at UAEM (México).
The second panel was specially dedicated to discuss the different perspectives of University Presses publishers and associations in the Ibero-American space. The panel was moderated by Margo Bargheer, from the Association of European Academic Presses – AEUP and Universität Göttingen). The speakers represented different areas from the Iberoamerican landscape of academic publishers: from Portugal, João Caetano (APEES – Associação Portuguesa de Editoras do Ensino Superior and Universidade Aberta); from Spain, Ana Isabel González (Unión de Editoriales Universitarias Españolas – UNE and Universidad de Oviedo); from Brazil, Jézio Hernani Gutierre (Associação Brasileira de Editoras Universitárias – ABEU and Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho – Unesp); and representing the region of Latin America and Caribbean, Sayri Karp Mitastein (Asociación de Editoriales Universitarias de América Latina y el Caribe – EULAC and Universidad de Guadalajara).
OA Diamond Journals: from archipelago to community
General results and recommendations
Pierre Mounier presented the general results from the OA Diamonds study, which was built by a study group of 10 researchers working constantly for more than a year, in organisations from different parts of the world. The full results are published in Zenodo in two parts – one for the findings and another for the recommendations, which were made to the funders from cOAlition S, but also more largely for the whole community, to better support the diamond journals.
The study was built from three sources of information. The first part was an analysis of the bibliographic database, the second was a survey of diamond journals with 95 questions and 1619 valid responses, with global dissemination; and the third part was built from focus groups and interviews with journals, platforms and infrastructures. The study considers OA journals the ones that are open and that don’t charge APCs – free for readers and authors.
Among the main takeaways, there is the perception that there is a wide archipelago of relatively small journals serving diverse communities: an overall view ranging between 17,000 to 29,000 diamond journals.
Considering the focus of the workshop on Multilingualism, Pierre Mounier highlighted the multilingualism aspects found in the study. In this sense, a contrast between diamond journals and APC journals was noted: the diamond model corresponds also to scholarly communication practices that embrace more multilingualism and cultural diversity than other sectors of publishing.
In other aspects of the study, such as technical support, a mix of scientific strengths and operational challenges was found. Diamond journals often show a lack of legal ownership documents, lack of capacity for monitoring and reporting and a variety of peer review practices. The process of indexation in main databases is their biggest challenge, and inclusion is directly correlated with the size and resources of the journals. This can be illustrated by the fact that 400 journals are not even included in DOAJ.
In terms of compliance, in summary, it was found that OA diamond journals are on the road to full compliance with Plan S. Compliance overall is lower than that of APC-based journals – half of which don’t attribute persistent identifiers to the articles, which is an important requirment for Plan S. One important recommendation regarding compliance is the advocacy for organisations/funders who could sponsor the acquisition of DOI for those journals and work better together.
Another important finding was that most of the journals are strongly dependent on volunteering, which means that they rely on a very small staff to manage the journals. A lot of the workforce is the result of volunteering. Mounier highlighted that journals and the institutions that support them are encouraged to share more services and infrastructures, as well as in-kind contributions.
High-level recommendations for capacity building include the idea to create of an OA Diamond Capacity Centre – a hub to enable the diamond journals and their institutions to share know-how, knowledge and tools. The idea gains importance once it is recognized that the OA diamonds landscape is not yet a community, but an archipelago, with lack of communication among the community. Another recommendation is to organise an international symposium and workshops to prepare this Capacity Centre.
Recommendations also include a call for better support from funders and institutions and the creation of funding strategies.
A view of Latin American landscape
Arianna Becerril-García stated, in her presentation on the Latin American landscape of OA journals, the importance to frame the Open Access tradition in Latin America once the regon’s practices of Open Access are the default for the majority of publishers, journals and institutions in the SSH. Arianna, who was also part of the team of the OA Diamond Journals study, highlighted that the view in Latin America is different from the general view of the Diamond journals landscape in Europe.
The Redalyc representative shared her perspective that openness should not be reduced to just open versus closed access: it should be for the sake of equity, epistemic justice, bibliodiversity and inclusion. Openness is not, in this sense, only about open access: it is about the future of scholarly communication, sustainability, control, ownership, research community interests and public goods. The idea is to maximize the potential of organic visibility, knowledge linking, the pursue of systematic participation in science, and to enable a global conversation.
Regarding the Latin American context, Arianna presented that the region has created and maintains a non-commercial infrastructure where scientific publishing belongs to academic institutions and not to large publishers. Every institution supports journals that are driven by their own faculty members, and then that content is made available in OA. Everyone gets benefits from everyone’s investment. A fee has not been included neither for authors nor for readers in the regional editorial tradition.
In this sense, the “archipelago” that was found in the general study is not found in the Latin American context. It is possible to find a complex cooperative system among the universities, and in an upper layer there are repositories, networks and platforms of aggregation. In this ecosystem sustained by the academic institutions and the government, there is a great amount of public money invested. In this kind of complexity, there are different factors of impact and, as Becerril-García pointed out, the region may be the most advanced region regarding Open Access. Paradoxically, the term is not familiar to the region, because Open Access is a natural way of working.
With respect to the visibility of Latin-American science production, Arianna Becerril-García considered that maps of journals that are focused only on databases like Scopus cannot show the real representation of the Latin American contribution. She pointed out that mainstream databases as Web of Science and Scopus don’t take into consideration a large number of journals owned by universities, but mainly those by commercial publishers. There is, in this understanding, structural inequality in the mainstream databases in regard the presence of journals, the number of citations and impact: in this perspective, the reality is being distorted in what concerns the Latin-American region. There are a lightly more than 11,000 journals, 2,000 quality-certified journals, OA mandates, national mandates and 10 national networks of institutional repositories.
Regarding multilingualism in the regional context, Spanish and Portuguese are in front and English is being more adopted with time. In Colombia and Brazil, taken as examples, Spanish and Portuguese are diminishing with the increase of English. The main challenges pointed in this direction are congruence in research and journal assessment in the regional ecosystem, sustainability, visibility and the coexistence with commercial OA.
The highlight on a diverse ecosystem in Latin America – in opposition to the idea of an archipelago – also encompasses the model of work in the academic publishing system. As pointed by Arianna, the academic work in regard to scholarly publishing is indirectly paid or rewarded in Latin America, because the work inside the OA journals is part of the scholarly work in each institution.
Thus, Latin-American Diamond OA can serve as a lesson for the bigger community in a variety of aspects, such as: the possibility of running journal publishing; the benefits of a cooperative approach, with distribution among many stakeholders; and the higher inclusiveness when placing the journal publishing in hands of the academic sector. The presentation emphasized the essence of science that favours epistemic, methodological, linguistic, geographic and content bibliodiversity – a future where Diamond OA has much to contribute.
Better interaction and collaborative work
The search for better interaction and more collaborative work in the OA publishing sector was a common interest in both panels of the workshop. In this sense, the landscape of the OA Diamond Journals and the zoom to the Latin American panorama on this topic provided an interesting starting point for the following discussion in the second panel, focused on the academic publishing associations on the Ibero-American space.
During the discussion between the two panels, it was commented that the model used in America Latina with Redalyc is now being implemented in other countries outside of the region. The collaboration among different regions was addressed, and Pierre Mounier highlighted that this is exactly what OPERAS is trying to do: build a community to allow better collaboration in the SSH inside Open Science practices.
The Ibero-American landscape of publishers and its importance to multilingualism
The four contributions of this panel came from Portugal, Spain, Brazil and the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. Each speaker stressed some aspects around the contribution that each country or the region can give to the challenge of multilingualism and bibliodiversity.
Representing the Portuguese Association of Academic Publishers, João Caetano talked about the possible contribution of Portuguese and Portugal. He stressed that the necessity of protection of multilingualism and bibliodiversity is felt more deeply in the social and human sciences. The competitiveness among researchers and the consequence of using English as a lingua franca was also addressed.
João Caetano argued that there is an opportunity for academic publishers to unite, especially those who have a wide spoken language besides English – Spanish and Portuguese, for example. The Portuguese Association of Academic Publishers (APEES), which he represents, states that it is necessary to significantly increase cooperation in Europe and around the world. Cooperation outside Europe is important to gain scale and to compete – and the act of sharing resources is a major challenge. The Portuguese representative also pointed that a very close collaboration with policymakers is needed in various fields.
João Caetano underlined that the defense of multilingualism and bibliodiversity is a challenge that requires intense cooperation on a European and global scale involving public and also private actors. This defense of multilingualism is not only needed on the European scale but also on a global scale.
From Spain, Ana Isabel Gonzales (UNE) indicated that the approach of the academic publishers in the country has been, for many years, focused on bibliodiversity. The university presses publish books that may not be so attractive to the commercial sector. She presented data regarding the size of the publishing sector in Spain, the proportion of university presses and the prominence of SSH books in university publishing. Also, she highlighted the importance of this kind of publishing to the advancement of multilingualism.
In Spain, most of the scholarly production is published in Spanish – for example, 96.4% of university presses publish in Spanish, with a total of 77.2% of the titles published. English is published in 48.2% of the presses, however with only 2.6% of the total of titles. Another 21.4% publish in bilingual works. In this context, the importance of the researcher taking a position in the promotion of multilingualism was highlighted, as well as the importance of policymakers to the process.
From Brazil, Jézio Hernani Gutierre (ABEU) focused on the integrative actions put into effect by presses and publishers in the country and in the wider region of South and Latin America to promote and improve the international dialogue in the continent. Jézio Gutierre underlined that there are, in general, two major categories of initiatives to do so: on one hand, individual initiatives, such as the participation in international book fairs and in joint ventures between individual publishers (by bilateral, formal or informal agreements) to promote co-editions, frequently bilingual, or to exchange copyrights, allowing partners to translate and to print titles from each other without the financial burden of copyright costs. Still, the exchange of distribution structures was another form of collaboration from individual initiatives.
On the other hand, there are initiatives led by associations – usually private ones – that sponsor translation grants, build bridges between private and government institutions that provide instruments to international cooperation among publishers, and finally promote common databases, search engines and common commercial channels for publishers from all over the continent. The importance of the role of EULAC as a regional association, in this context, was highlighted by Jézio. Again, the idea that the challenge of cooperation, multilingualism and bibliodiversity as a global and not only a continental issue was addressed.
Jézio also underscored the revolution of open access as a new building block in regard to bibliodiversity. He gave the example, in Brazil, of the Unesp Press, in which he is currently the CEO, and its program for open access. In 10 years, the Open Access initiative from Unesp published nearly 300 books, with an impressive reach of 23 million downloads, in nearly 20 countries. One important aspect is that these publications were in Portuguese. This shows the potential reach of the language in the scientific field.
The role of EULAC, already mentioned in Jézio’s talk, was presented by Sayri Karp in the final talk of the workshop. As a represenatative of an association that has dozens of members from 12 different countries in the region, Sayri talked about initiatives that are being taken in EULAC to support the dissemination of bibliodiversity and the recognition of multilingualism in the area.
In the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, Sayri indicates that there is a richness of many languages, but two are the main ones: Spanish and Portuguese. She presented some experiments that are being made by EULAC in order to promote more collaboration and the work of the members and countries. One of them is a thematic catalogue gathered around the theme of gender violence, that has more than 500 titles, from 96 university presses and 8 countries. The idea here is for academic publishers to be part of the conversation, to have a voice on the public agenda, and to promote reflection and transformation. This would help to lead a more fair, inclusive society and to allow the publishers to intervene in the public debate.
Another initiative is the ULibros platform, a space to bring together all the national catalogues from Ibero-America. The platform has more than 31,000 references right now from 148 university presses. The workshop was also an opportunity for EULAC to invite APEES, from Portugal, and UNE, from Spain, to integrate it. The intention was to reflect of the richness of the contributions of each nation and the subsistence of bibliodiversity and to make a statement: science is published in other languages than English.
With new projects presented on the panel, EULAC shows the commitment to be a reference for consultation and dissemination of culture and identity in Latin America, to project authors and books, and to be part of the reflection on the global level, in permanent dialogue with all the world.