Conference Agenda: SciELO 15 Years Conference

The SciELO 15 Years Celebration Conference is now just three months away, and the final touches are currently being put to the conference program. The thematic conference panels are already arranged and almost all the speakers have confirmed their attendance. The final versions of the titles and the abstracts of the conference papers are in the process of being produced in the three official conference languages – Spanish, Portuguese and English.

The Agenda of the SciELO 15 Year Conference.

The Agenda of the SciELO 15 Years Conference.

The conference will take as its theme the examination of the dimensions and aspects of contemporary scholarly communication which are in the process of moulding the form and ways that scientific research will be communicated in the future. Taking a global view of academic research, the conference program attempts to place the analyses and debates concerning scholarly communication within the framework of a vision that seeks to blur the distinction between major and peripheral issues and even the separation of academic literature into mainstream and regional. These concepts are often responsible for giving rise to limiting or contradictory values and perceptions where the creation of a global vision of scholarly communication is concerned. This global vision is crucial for the advancement of the research currently being undertaken in developing or emerging countries and, above all, with reference to the advancement of their journal output. But, in the final analysis, it will be important for the advancement of research worldwide.

Public policies for the promotion of research and scholarly communication which consider the mass of research as well as the corresponding set of communication channels are crucial factors in ensuring that scientific journals published in the developing or emerging countries receive appropriate recognition and take their rightful place in the global scientific information cycle.

The opening panel discussion of our international conference, which will take place on the morning of 23rd October, will be given over to an analysis of how policies and programs for the promotion of research and scholarly communication deal with this challenge in South Africa, Brazil and China.

The panel discussion entitled “Editorial Management of Journals – State of the Art, Trends and Innovations”, which will take place during the afternoon of 25th October, will revisit the national policies for the support of journals which exist in the 16 countries currently part of the SciELO network.

In the context of policies for the promotion of research, the advancement of such research takes place under the control of systems which assess merit, performance and productivity. In general, these systems are based on an open tender procedure and peer group committees, as well as bibliometric and scientometric indicator analyses.

These assessment systems have a direct influence on the ranking of both the type of research and projects undertaken, and the institutions and countries in which the research is carried out. As a consequence of this, when communicating the results of their research, both the researchers and their institutions are directly impacted by these systems. They often find themselves at the mercy of the generalized application of bibliometric indicators which measure the impact of their research. These indicators are principally based on the number of citations their research receives along with the standing of the journal in which these are published. A major question concerning these assessment systems is the measurement of the quality of the research produced and its relationship with the reputation of the journals in which the research is published.

The conference discussion panel which will take place during the morning of 24th October will deal with the topic of Scientometrics and will look at its theories and technical processes related to the question of measuring both the quality of research produced and the journals in which it is published. There will be a focus on questioning accepted methodologies, and on the contribution of more recent techniques and approaches.

Open Access is another topic which will be highlighted and will be a constant theme throughout the conference program. In the countries which have adopted the SciELO model, the publication of the majority of their quality journals takes place under the open access model. In Latin America in particular, open access is in the process of consolidating itself as the accepted publishing route for journals produced by learned societies and national institutes of education and research. Such a tendency should prevail, not withstanding the non-participation of a few of the smaller journals which have opted for publication by commercial publishers which offer subscription access to their contents. One particular conference panel is dedicated to an analysis of the current situation and trends in the international open access movement. The growth in the international open access movement helps to give recognition to the pioneering spirit of the SciELO program and lends support to its future development.

Allied to the growth of open access, scholarly communication is in the process of enriching itself with innovations and solutions which are centered on strengthening the proactive participation of the researchers themselves in the management of content related to their research and areas of interest and in the democratization of access and the exchange of information with their peers, via social network platforms and services. A conference discussion panel to be held during the afternoon of 23rd October, will be dedicated to an analysis of these trends and innovations, including the roles played by social networks such, Mendeley and ResearchGate, to name but three. It will also examine the dominant role played by Google and its future prospects as the most popular platform for locating content, and consider the emergence of mega journals and journal pools.

In promoting analysis and discussion of the themes that run through the international development of scholarly communication, the SciELO 15 Years Conference will achieve one of its principal objectives – that of contributing towards the establishment of a contextual framework in favor of journals published in developing and emerging countries. This will have particular relevance for the SciELO Program and network.

The major challenges facing the academic publishers of these journals, will therefore form the subject matter of a panel discussion which will take place at the end of the afternoon of the third day of the conference. Matters to be discussed include the professionalization of the editorial management process, the internationalization of editorial boards and of the processes governing the evaluation of manuscripts, multilingualism, publishing more articles from foreign authors, integration into social networks, and the improvement of financial sustainability. The panel will promote the dialogue with publishers of SciELO journals concerning their position in the face of these challenges and of the state of the art and trends in journal publication management.

With these matters in mind, another panel discussion will be held on 25th October which will deal with issues such as the management of national journal collections. This session will examine what SciELO is doing in this regard as well as undertaking an analysis of Canadian, Chinese and Japanese solutions to this matter.

In addition, in connection with the progress in the area of journal management, the conference will host a session which will be given over to the presentation of solutions, editorial products and services, and the publication and evaluation of journals.

Mark Petterson

Mark Patterson

The major questions which are dealt with during the conference program have had a bearing on the choice of Mark Patterson as key note speaker. Mark spent twelve years as a researcher in the field of genetics before taking up the role of editor of “Trends in Genetics” in 1994. After a few years at Nature where he was involved in the launch of the Nature Reviews series of periodicals, he moved to PLOS in 2003 where, as Publication Director, he was instrumental in the launch of a number of the PLOS journals. He was one of the founders of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. At present, he is Executive Director of eLife, an open access journal which he is currently helping to get off the ground, with the aim of publishing “ the very best research in life and biomedical sciences”, with no costs being borne by the authors themselves. eLife is financed by three of the world’s leading scientific research funders – The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust.

It can be said with some certainty that the tenets and challenges which are emanating from eLife’s proposal to establish the bases upon which the future of scholarly communication will be built, provide a good starting point for the SciELO 15 Years Conference Program.

Editorial Team


Translated from the original in Portuguese by Nicholas Cop Consulting.


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