Interview with José Adolfo Rodríguez Gallardo

José Adolfo Rodríguez Gallardo

José Adolfo Rodríguez Gallardo

UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – National Autonomous University of Mexico), which figures prominently in the academic ouptut of Latin America, and CONACYT – National Council of Science and Technology, have created a working group to improve Mexico’s academic publications.  UNAM coordinates SciELO Mexico and for the past 30 years has been producing the CLASE, PERIODICA and Latindex databases which cover all areas of knowledge. As of 2006, it is promoting Open Access journals and repositories.

With a Master’s in History from the El Colegio de México, a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctorate in Pedagogy from UNAM, he has published more than a dozen books and seventy articles in national and international journals.

He is Researcher Emeritus at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas y de la Información (IIBI) – Institute of Library and Information Research –  of UNAM; a national researcher Level III in the National System of Researchers of the National Council of Science and Technology; and a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

He has been the Director of the Escuela Nacional de Biblioteconomía y Archivonomía  – National School for Library and Archival Sciences – and of the Library Directorate at UNAM, and was the founding Director of the Centro Universitario de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas de la UNAM (currently the IIBI),  and is the Coordinador del Posgrado en Bibliotecología y Estudios de la Información de la UNAM – Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Library and Information Sciences at UNAM.

He currently serves as the Director General of Libraries at UNAM.

1. UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – National Autonomous University of Mexico) holds a prominent position in the rankings of Ibero- American universities, occupying first place in the different criteria relating to academic output. To what extent does DGB (Dirección General de Bibliotecas – Library Directorate) contribute and favor to that?

The Library Directorate (DGB) contributes to the achievement made in positioning UNAM in the ranking of the best universities by storing and organizing the information produced by its academics. It also has a database of theses which informs us of how many students have achieved a Bachelors degree, or have gained their Masters or Doctoral qualification. It also contributes to the production of the TESIUNAM database (the UNAM Thesis Catalogue) which contains information on authors, subjects and the academics who are supervising work or research. This is an Open Access database and contains the full text of the theses.

2. Does UNAM rely on a program for improving the journals it publishes or does the responsibility for that fall to the different faculties and institutes which carry out the role of editors?

The responsibility for journal editing has fallen onto the shoulders of the faculties or institutes that produce them. With the growth of SciELO-Mexico, a number of standards have come to the fore which should be followed by the editors of academic journals. SciELO-Mexico was set up using the journal publications in the catalog of the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología – The National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) – for its collection, which has contributed to an improvement in the editorial process. At the present time, the DGB has a signed agreement with CONACYT to share information between the publishers in the Open Journal System (OJS) regarding the standardization of editing. In addition, the DGB will arrange a series of courses and workshops to achieve this aim. In a similar vein, UNAM has recently set up a working group with the aim of improving serial publications. The DGB is a member of this working group.

3. One of the challenges which national journals must face is that of increasing their international impact. What support does UNAM and the DGB in particular give to its journals in this regard?

For more than thirty years UNAM has been producing two databases, CLASE and PERIÓDICA which up to the present time have been simply reference databases; the first of these relates to the social sciences and humanities, while the second is for the natural sciences. Recently a series of bibliometric indicators have been developed which will be applied to these databases and additionally, ways are being explored to offer the full text of articles contained in them. Through the DGB, UNAM also participates in SciELO with the objective of giving greater visibility to national academic output.

4. You will be speaking at the meeting of the SciELO Network about the contribution of libraries and librarians to the improvement of SciELO journals. What can you share with us in this interview in advance of this meeting?

Librarians from the different countries in Latin America have participated with commitment and enthusiasm in the development of SciELO in Latin America. They may not be the majority group nor the only one, but certainly they have been a group that has set out to give greater visibility to Latin American academic output and promote Open Access.

5. In addition to SciELO the DGB is responsible for the CLASE, PERIÓDICA and Latindex indexes. ¿How do these complement each other?

CLASE and PERIÓDICA are databases produced by the former Centro de Información Científica y Humanística (CICH) at UNAM. As of 1997, CICH became part of the DGB which has undertaken some important activities to improve the indexes, such as the standardization of the records. All of the work is carried out by the staff of the DGB. Latindex originated in the former CICH and was later merged with the DGB. This index represents a Latin American effort since the information from each country is provided by colleagues from Latin American Institutions. Most of the staff that work on this index belong to the DGB, while the examination of the journal content for CLASE and PERIÓDICA is done by the analysis of the published articles. Latindex is a directory of Latin American journals but it does not analyze the articles published.

6. Regarding the adoption of Open Access, what are the advances in terms of mandates and repositories at UNAM? What is the participation of the DGB?

In 2006, the Rector of UNAM, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, decided that university publications must be in Open Access. The inclusion of the UNAM-DGB in SciELO and the inclusion of full text in CLASE and PERIÓDICA shows the commitment of UNAM to Open Access.

At the end of September of this year, the Mexican Senate carried out a consultation process on the possibility of drafting legislation regarding Open Access. It is worth mentioning that the majority of the university community participated in this consultation process. 


Translated from the original in Spanish by Nicholas Cop Consulting.


How to cite this post [ISO 690/2010]:

SCIENTIFIC ELECTRONIC LIBRARY ONLINE. Interview with José Adolfo Rodríguez Gallardo [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2013 [viewed ]. Available from:


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