Interview with Cicilia K. Peruzzo

Cicilia K. Peruzzo

Cicilia K. Peruzzo

With 50 years since the creation of the academic discipline of Communication Science in Brazil (With the 50th anniversary of the academic discipline of Communication Science in Brazil), we invite Professor Cicilia K. Peruzzo to talk about the results and challenges in the field. The journal of the association Intercom, the first academic journal in Communication in Brazil to be made available in open access on the Internet, is definitely an exciting editorial project and is indexed in SciELO. The journal has been promoting the dissemination of national and international research over a period of many years while contributing to university education in the field of Communication and to the ever wider-ranging discussions about this field and its relations with other fields.

Cicilia K. Peruzzo holds a doctorate in Communication Science (1991) from the University of São Paulo. She carried out her post-doctoral work at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). She served as President of Intercom (Brazilian Association of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication) from 1999 to 2002. Since 2006, she has been editor of Intercom – Revista Brasiliera de Ciências da Communicação (The Brazilian Journal of Communication Science/Studies). She is currently a Professor on the graduate Communication Program at the Methodist University of São Paulo – IMESP ; she is a researcher in the field of communication as it applies to the themes of  Community, Alternative and Local Media, and also researches into Public Relations, casting a critical eye over social movements. She is the Vice-President of the Lusophone (Portuguese speaking countries) Federation of Communication , and the coordinator of the Community and Local Communication Study Group (COMUNI) and of the working group “Communication and Citizenship “ of the Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Communication Studies (2012-2013).

1.Based on your own academic experience as a professor and researcher, and particularly as past-President of INTERCOM (Brazilian Association of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication), and also taking into account your current position as Editor of Intercom – The Brazilian Journal of Communication Science, what, in your view, are the challenges facing the dissemination of academic output in the field of Communication in Brazil?

On an international level, and at first glance, the principal challenge is getting into the competitive space which the already established academic disciplines dominate and participate in according to their own rules of conduct within the dynamics of the “marketplace” which is based upon American and Anglo-Saxon editorial standards and academic culture.  However, there exists a growing effort in the field of Communication to extend its presence in the international paths that exist for the circulation of knowledge and, to the few that there are, it seems that this challenge is already part of the academic universe, particularly in the area of Graduate Programs in Communication and those of academic associations. As a matter of fact, with the progress made in teaching and research at the graduate level in the country, we are also seeing the growth in both the quantity and quality of the academic output in this field and, as a consequence of this, it offers more and has a greater participation in national and international forums.

On the national level, the dissemination of the academic knowledge produced is beginning to overcome similar challenges, because the number of highly ranked academic journals is low when compared to the growing output of articles produced in the universities that result from the pressure to publish which has established itself over the last few years. In parallel with this, we are seeing a process of maturity concerning requests/complaints, efforts/ undertakings and desires to further the value of knowledge, as much from technoscientific parameters as from the hoped for or necessary contribution of content for the advancement of knowledge and its role in society.

2.Talking about the 50 years since the creation of the academic discipline of Communication Science in the country – which, by the way, is currently being celebrated with the round of FAPESP and Intercom conferences – it would be good if you could comment a little with respect to the specific nature of this field of study and its evolution and its unfolding throughout this period.

In the first place, because we are dealing with something new – or even better, I should venture to say, a recent discipline -, which is in the process of rapid development and that, at the same time, is undergoing long lasting technological and social transformations of societies, it establishes itself as a challenging field because it shows itself to be all-encompassing and dynamic, and with and without boundaries in relation to other fields of knowledge. That is to say, the configurations of the universe of Communication have been altered very quickly over the last few decades – from channels of communication to media and messages – , from communication processes both between individuals and within organizations, both massive and digital – from face-to-face and mediated communication environments to virtual ones – and so on and so forth. All this forces us to continually seek to review concepts and theories, their re-workings and their development and the formulation of new concepts and theories to take account of these transformations. On the other hand, the field brings together a very interesting variety of concepts, in addition to leaving behind and being left behind by other fields of knowledge.

As far as its development is concerned, from the point of view of education there is something extraordinary about the number of schools and degree courses in existence (Journalism, Advertising, Public Relations, Publishing, Radio and Television, etc), along with Graduate Programs in Communication. All these have more wide ranging approaches to research so that they can get an overview of the diversity of the field and, in addition, take account of phenomena which are linked to culture, the taking in of information, the relationships between culture and education, the structures of the mass media, public policies concerning this field  and aspects of communication in different environments both in terms of language (printed, audiovisual and cyberspace) and different contexts (mediated, institutional, community, etc.) At the present time, there are 64 graduate courses in existence (43 at Master’s level and 20 at doctorate level) which are recognized by CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel). This is in contrast to the situation which prevailed at the end of the 1980’s when there were only 6 (six) such courses in existence, 3 (three) at Master’s level and the same number leading to a doctorate. There are even different national academic associations in existence, in addition to a national federation of associations (SOCICOM – The Brazilian Federation of Scientific and Academic Associations of Communication).  CONFIBERCOM – The Ibero-American Confederation of Scientific and Academic Associations of Communication – is another confederation which is the umbrella association for the Lusophone world.

3.In your opinion, what assessment could be made for the field of Communication Science, taking into account its academic output at both national and international level?

It is a growing output. Never has so much been published in the field as in the past few years. Dozens of collections of independently published books are launched each year at the Intercom Congress. The number of academic journals in circulation is also up. The number of works published at the Intercom Congresses come from the six Intercom events held each year, one national and one per geographic region. Taken as an example, it shows the significant demand coming from all of the regions of Brazil. From 2009 to 2013, 4,524 papers were selected to be presented to the Grupos de Pesquisa (GP) (Intercom’s Research Groups) from all six Intercom events. These events had a total registration of 42,000 participants in this same period1. I would like to point out that this corresponds to the participation of both senior and junior researchers, which has provided an important opening in the field for the training and reception of new researchers. From this perspective, there is still a great incentive for Intercom to institutionalize specific spaces within their events (example: Intercom Junior) for the presentation of works in the fundamentals of science.

In another sense, and without trying to offer any assessment, I would say that, in terms of Latin America and the Lusophone countries, there is an increasing number of researchers presenting their results, most of whom are Brazilians. In other words, surveys have shown the trend towards a majority presence of Brazilians in international events in relation to Latin America and Portuguese speaking countries, events such as Congreso Latinoamericano de Investigadores de la Comunicación; Annual Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research; Congresso Internacional Ibercom; Congresso Internacional de Comunicação Lusófona and so on.

4.  Open Access. What does this mean for academic publishers and the authors of articles published in the academic journals in the field of Communication Science? What are the results obtained, up to now, in this regard?

It signifies a tremendous opportunity to democratize knowledge, making it more accessible and provoking discussion. Given the difficulties in the circulation of the print journal in a country as large as Brazil (Note –  larger than the continental USA) and, even more so, owing to the fact that the majority of the regions have their own particular characteristics, the online availability really enhances access to information and its circulation.

5. Could you speak about the journal Intercom – Revista Brasileira de Ciências da Comunicação (Intercom RBCC), Intercom – Brazilian Jounal of Communication Scielce, both in relation to its history (since 1977), and what it represents to the field in the past few decades of real  change, especially related to the use of new technologies?

Intercom-RBCC  was the first academic journal to be made available free of charge on the Internet, even at the beginning of the last decade. It started out as a modest journal, but significative for a field that was taking its first steps to organize itself. The journal was improved over the years by the effort of various editors. Currently it is a highly reputable academic journal in the field of Communication, whose online submission processes for articles, of selection, in addition to the technical and formatting aspects have inspired other journals to improve. Its mission is to contribute to the dissemination of academic knowledge and to the pluralistic reflection on Communication in a way that achieves its goals which are: (a) Promote and disseminate national and international academic research in Communication; (b) Contribute to the development of the level of research and university teaching in Communication; (c) Serve as a forum to reflect on topics of public interest in the context of Communication.

6. What are the upcoming projects for the improvement of academic output that are linked to the action policies of Intercom? Is there a survey of the journals in the field that are already indexed in WoS (Web of Science), Scopus and in the SciELO collection?

Well, Intercom is a public not-for-profit association that works with the intent of contributing to the field so that it develops on a solid base, so that it advances and consolidates itself as a science, and broadens its presence in the academic-scientific space at the national, regional and international levels. Intercom itself does not carry out research, nor does it do regular formal teaching, but it does collaborate to make accessible subsidies for research, and for teaching and university extension programs. It provides space to researchers, lecturers and other professionals, and also makes available to students books, academic journals, conference proceedings, Internet, etc. These are all channels of expression for the public communication of what is produced so that it can be shared and evaluated by peers and made part of society

In regards to the indexing of journals from the field in international databases, unfortunately the number is extremely low. In a study undertaken in 2011, 71 existing academic journals in Communication in Brazil were identified, the majority being concentrated in the South-East region of the country. Out of this number, just five currently have the best ranking obtained by the field in the Qualis System of Journal Evaluation of Capes, and that is a ranking of A2. And only one journal, the Intercom – Revista Brasileira de Ciências da Comunicação (Intercom – Brazilian Journal of Communication Science) is indexed in SciELO. The challenge now is to have our journal indexed in other international databases. With regards to international indexes, the five best journals just mentioned are in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), but not one journal is in Scopus or WoS. However, some are part of Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina y el Caribe, España y Portugal (RedALyC) is a project spearheaded by the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM), and has somewhat more affinity with the field of Communication.


1 Information given by the Board of Intercom based on a recent survey.


Translated from the original in Portuguese by Nicholas Cop Consulting.


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SCIENTIFIC ELECTRONIC LIBRARY ONLINE. Interview with Cicilia K. Peruzzo [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2013 [viewed ]. Available from:


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