The visibility of journals of Brazil

By Abel L Packer

Image adapted from the original, by David Goehring.

Image adapted from the original, by David Goehring.

Quality of journals of Brazil, especially those indexed and published by SciELO, have acquired considerable and increasing international visibility and credibility.

The most recent and important achievement was the incorporation of the SciELO Citation Index (SciELO CI) in the Web of Science (WoS). This took place in January of 2014 and makes the SciELO collection of journals available to the principal research communities in the world. SciELO CI takes advantage of the facilities of WoS, and it can be accessed individually or through the collection of databases in  WoS. The counts of citations by Brazilian researchers to SciELO journals and the counts of citations to SciELO from foreign journals in WoS makes SciELO CI a broad international quality index. Beginning in 2015, SciELO will publish the performance of the journals by subject area based on their citation counts in SciELO CI. This will permit identifying and balancing the journals in their representation of national and international research they communicate.

The journals of Brazil indexed in WoS and in Scopus show outstanding performance in comparison with the BRIC countries and others in Latin America. In both indexes, the SciELO journals of Brazil show a superior performance to that of other journals of Brazil in general, which reaffirms both the quality control of SciELO and its contribution to open access. In the 2014 edition of JCR, the median of the Impact Factor distribution for journals of Brazil in general is 0.554, while it is 0.631 for the SciELO journals of Brazil and 0.364 for those journals of Brazil not in SciELO. In the Scimago/Scopus 2014 rankings, the median for all journals from Brazil is 0.255 and jumps to 0.365 for those in SciELO and drops to 0.200 for those not in SciELO.

All SciELO journals have their articles structured so as to maximize their indexing in Google Scholar, which is one of the principle sources for searching scientific information. Eighty six percent of the 100 journals that publish in Portuguese and which had a higher performance in Google Scholar in 2013 are indexed in SciELO. In the same vein, all SciELO journal articles have a DOI, which means that they are indexed in CROSSREF and thus discoverable via links.

The collection of SciELO journals has an outstanding performance as measured by the Ranking Web of Repositories. SciELO Brazil is in third place, just after the ResearchGate and social networks. This ranking reflects the extraordinary number of accesses to and downloads of SciELO articles. In the first half of 2014, there were an average of 600 thousand article downloads of SciELO articles in HTML and PDF as measured by the internationally accepted COUNTER methodology. In other words, each SciELO article was accessed an average of 2.5 times a day. Over the past two years there has been an annual increase of 11% in the number of downloads of SciELO articles.

These developments reflect the expectations of the journal publishers, the funding agencies and, in particular, the SciELO Program which has, as its most important specific objective, strengthening and broadening, in a sustainable way, the visibility of the research communicated by the journals which it indexes, publishes and makes interoperable on the Web. Throughout its 16 years in operation, and always in partnership with the journals, SciELO achieved outstanding results and foresees important advances for the coming years with the execution of the priority lines of action which SciELO has been developing of professionalization, internationalization and sustainability.

Regarding the internationalization of the SciELO journals, the SciELO Program identified some goals for its collection of journals which are tailored to each subject area. As a result, the number of articles in English in the collection of journals is growing by an average of 7% per year. In 2009, articles in English accounted for 41% of the total and in 2013 reached 55%, while 13% were published simultaneously in Portuguese and English. The view is that in the next three years the percentage of articles in English will be between 65% and 75%. Likewise, in 2009 the percentage of articles with foreign authors amounted to 13% and in 2013 reached 18%, while 6% were articles where Brazilians collaborated with foreigners. The view is that by 2016 the percentage of foreign authors in the collection of SciELO journals will exceed 20% given that the recommended goal for SciELO over the next five years is to exceed 30%.

To accomplish faster progress than that set out above by SciELO, a combination of actions by the journal publishers and the funding agencies is necessary. Firstly, by the journal publishers, through the action of the editors in improving the processes and criteria in the selection of manuscripts, giving priority to quality over quantity, and through the action of the journals’ institutions in developing sustainable financial models which combine their own resources with those of funding agencies and article processing charges. Secondly, by the funding agencies, through assistance programs to support the professionalization and internationalization of the journals with a focus on financing the article processing charges in journals of quality.

In any case, the progress of SciELO and of its journals in the implementation of the priority lines of action of professionalization and internationalization should, in the coming years, be progressively reflected in the indicators of visibility and in the performance of the journals.


Translated from the original in Portuguese by Nicholas Cop Consulting.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

PACKER, A. The visibility of journals of Brazil [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2014 [viewed ]. Available from:


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