SciELO as a space for thinking through scholarly communication

SciELO 25 Years logo with the tagline: Open Science with IDEIA – Impact, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

By Francisco Osorio, University of Chile

The history of SciELO can be understood as the search for a solution to a local problem with a view to international collaboration. In other words, at the end of the 1990s, there was a problem with the scholarly communication system in Brazil, because many of the articles that its researchers needed to read were not easily available. Printed journals arrived (at some point), but not to everyone, and the system was slow in general. However, around this time, a new technology emerged that was used to solve this problem: the Internet.

Today, 25 years later, we can testify that this problem has been solved. However, SciELO is not defined by a specific problem. The reason is obvious. If the problem is solved, the organization that was created to solve it disappears. But if we understand SciELO as an organization that faces various problems in scholarly communication, then we can say that its mission is enduring. For example, a current problem is that articles take a long time to be published (one or two years). Well, one solution proposed by SciELO is to use preprint technology. But there are many other problems in the scholarly communication system and there will certainly be many more in the future. Therefore, it is best to understand that SciELO is defined as the place where the problems of scholarly communication are thought through.

But another dimension of SciELO (which has characterized it from the start) is the ethical component. Since its origins, SciELO has embraced the values of open access and, as Johan Rooryck says, the history of Europe would be very different if 25 years ago open access had been at the beginning (and not a goal as it is today). The most recent expression of this ethical dimension can be found in the concept of IDEIA.

Another dimension of SciELO is its international orientation. An idea that can be expressed in various ways. For example, researchers in São Paulo in 1990 realized that solving problems in Brazil meant thinking about how to network with other countries. The history of science communication in Latin America should have a chapter on how the city of São Paulo helped shape the scholarly communication system in Chile, which is maintained on the same principles to this day. This was also possible thanks to a great librarian, Ana Maria Prat, who created SciELO Chile a few months after SciELO Brazil. Another example can be found in Japan. Ritsuko Nakajima says that it was thanks to SciELO’s support that they were able to implement their first preprint system in 2023.

But what about the future? One way is to go back to the late 1990s. At that time, SciELO, Google, the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) and, above all, the massive adoption of the Internet were being born. In 1997, for example, the first digital journal on the epistemology of the social sciences in Latin America was created (called Cinta de Moebio). At the time, many scholars did not want to publish in a journal that only existed on the Internet, as they considered these publications to be unserious. They could not see or feel the change that was taking place in scholarly communication. Many of the attitudes of that time we see today regarding artificial intelligence, which is a mistake.

Looking to the future, XML markup will no longer be a problem. In general, all the technical aspects of the publishing system we have today will soon be anecdotes. Information processing capacity will only increase and the computers that interface for artificial intelligence will become more powerful. Therefore, we can create an artificial intelligence that receives an article and makes an initial decision on whether or not this article is relevant to the journal, i.e., we can train an artificial intelligence with all the published articles of a journal, with its mission and objectives, its publication guidelines and, although it seems a bit controversial, the entire history of decisions available on the OJS platform on articles submitted to the journal (or the email history).

In short, all the elements we have, and it will give us a suggestion about whether to accept or reject the article in the early stages. It is not that artificial intelligence will replace editors, but it will be an assistant. What will happen then is that processes as human as decision-making can be aided by artificial intelligence. The same will happen with the selection of peer reviewers. An artificial intelligence will process all the ORCIDs, all the platforms and suggest referees for that specific topic. By the way, it will write the correspondence and remind them from time to time to send in their review.

If it is true that SciELO is the place to think through scholarly communication, we can already see that it has the capacity to face the future. SciELO has an ethical component, a technological component and, at its heart, a concern for the people who are part of this scholarly communication community.


SciELO 25 Years Week | International Conference – September 27, 2023. SciELO. 2023 [viewed 27 October 2023]. Available from:

SciELO 25 Years Week | International Conference – September 28, 2023. SciELO. 2023 [viewed 27 October 2023]. Available from:

External links

Anna María Prat i Trabal – SciELO 25 Años:

Declaration in Support of Open Science with IDEIA:

Public Knowledge Project:

SciELO 25 Years – Open Science with IDEIA:


Translated from the original in Spanish by Lilian Nassi-Calò.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

OSORIO, F. SciELO as a space for thinking through scholarly communication [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2023 [viewed ]. Available from:


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