Representing the Humanities collection on the SciELO platform (2022-2023)

By Luiz Augusto Campos and Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda

A photograph of a person climbing a canyon. The person is in the middle of the route, heading for the top.

Photo by NEOM from Unsplash

In 2021, the authors of this post were elected representatives of the Humanities and Applied Social Sciences journal collection on the SciELO platform Advisory Committee for the 2022-23 biennium. Still in the midst of the pandemic, we began our mandate with certain missions proposed in our candidacy: to strengthen the Humanities collection, as well as the entire platform; to establish dialogue and mediation channels between the editorial heads of the journals and the platform’s governing bodies; to discuss the rapid transformations that the international and national publishing world has undergone in recent years; and to develop strategies for dealing with them as part of the routine of hundreds of journals affiliated with the collection.

In this post, we aim to report on the day-to-day work as representatives. Our aim is to record the premises that guided our deliberations and the activities mobilized to put them into practice.

The work that began in 2022 involved two major issues. First, the advent of the so-called Open Science Program, a set of global guidelines, pioneered by SciELO in Brazil since 2019. As we know, this Program aims to adopt new principles of transparency and implement substantive management changes in everyday publishing practices. Secondly, the context of the precariousness of the promotion of science in general, and scientific publishing in specific, as a result of the situation of an extreme right-wing federal government, with strong neoliberal and anti-scientific influences.

In this scenario, we tried to think strategically about how to contribute to strengthening the Humanities in the collection – the area with the highest numerical representation of journals indexed in SciELO since its creation in the late 1990s – and we intend to stimulate the internal debate among editors about Open Science. We tried to establish this debate without ignoring the scenario of persecution and political uncertainty that prevailed in the country at the time.

At the SciELO Annual Meeting in 20211, director Abel Packer stressed that the Open Science Program had reached a point of no return and that it was up to the editors to adopt the provisions within their journals. Although we agree with the diagnosis and the need to incorporate these principles, we feel that this path, which is considered inexorable, does not yet have a clear point of arrival. In other words, while it is reasonably clear that we need to review and update our policy values and editorial practices, it is not yet clear what institutional form they should take in view of the specificities of the knowledge in each of the nine areas in which the collection is structured.

In this sense, we exercise our mandate guided by the idea that the Humanities must appropriate the Open Science program in a creative way and not just with the reified assumption of consolidated experiences in other fields. Obviously, the testing of these realities in neighboring and external scientific areas is welcome in scientific production and communication, but not as foreign impositions on the particularities of each discipline.

This critical framework gave rise to the idea of organizing a public discussion on the subject, which originated the event “A Ciência Aberta nas Humanidades2, organized by SciELO on May 17th and 18th, 2022. Overall, there were six panels on different topics, such as dissemination and visibility of scientific output, preprint servers, transparency and replicability of databases, openness of review reports, academic evaluation criteria, and journals financial sustainability, among other relevant and controversial topics. There were more than twenty speakers, most of them editors-in-chief of excellence journals, with accumulated leadership and reflections on the subject.

To our pleasant surprise, the event had many participants and attracted the interest of the community, with the online panels being simultaneously followed by around 150 viewers and already accounting for hundreds of views on SciELO’s YouTube channel.

More than seeking unanimity, the aim of the event was to clarify, deepen, and debate experiments already carried out successfully by national journals in the face of the principles and demands of open science. One of these initiatives emerged from our contact with postgraduate associations in our field, with the proposal that they replace their traditional academic proceedings in favor of SciELO Preprints platform. The justifications are numerous.

Unlike the format of conference proceedings, manuscripts submitted to preprint servers are assigned a DOI, which allows them to be indexed, cited, and disseminated, and their digital preservation is ensured. Moreover, this publication format represents a cost saving on the part of the associations, which would no longer need to build expensive digital infrastructures to receive these papers.

The proposal was very well received by the National Association for Postgraduate Studies in Social Sciences (ANPOCS), which represents postgraduate programs in Sociology, Anthropology and Political Science in Brazil. At its 2023 congress, ANPOCS already allowed the submission of manuscripts via SciELO Preprints3, and we understand that this model can inspire related areas and even those not linked to the Humanities.

It’s worth noting that this whole discussion involves updating and radicalizing criteria which, in the past, have already contributed to putting the Brazilian publishing ecosystem on the global map. The open access policies that mark the origins of SciELO have not only served to democratize Brazilian scientific output, but also to establish a new model of editorial communication in this country that is critical of that prevailing in richer countries. Of course, the Open Science Program aims to go much further than this, but our journals are at the forefront of this debate precisely because they have unlimited access as one of their fundamental principles. The creative appropriation of Open Science is not only a way of radicalizing these editorial criteria that already constitute our comparative differential, but also of guaranteeing the trajectory of increasing the quality and visibility of our journals.

Another policy of our representation was the defense of the Humanities collection, particularly after such a tough period for our journals. The covid-19 pandemic and a government marked by constant attacks on science have put many journals in jeopardy. In the period immediately preceding the start of our mandate, two high-impact Letters journals had to shut down, due to complete loss of support that had sustained their existence for years, if not decades.

In any case, even in the face of harsh adversity for the editorial management, suddenly deprived of funding, we reached the end of the 2022-2023 biennium with only one journal de-indexed from the collection and with the approval by the Advisory Committee of 13 new journals, totaling SciELO’s largest collection, with 143 associated journals.

This has only been possible thanks to the SciELO Advisory Committee working fairly with the different areas that make up the collection. In this respect, it’s worth emphasizing that the decisions concerning our collection have always benefited from the valuable contributions of the representatives of the other collections, just as we have always found in the SciELO Committee an open space to contribute to the other areas.

All this work has only been possible thanks to the accumulation of the representation that preceded us, made up of Rachel Meneguello and Iara Belelli (2020-2021), as well as other Committee members and the technical excellence of the whole SciELO team. We are now passing on the baton to our colleagues Andréa Slemian and Debora Rezende, who will take on the role for the 2024-2025 biennium with even greater challenges than those we have faced so far.




2 CAMPOS, L.A. and DE HOLLANDA, B.B. Open Science in the Humanities [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2022 [viewed 11 April 2024]. Available from:

3 Preprints originally submitted to the ANPOCS 47th Annual Meeting:


External links

SciELO – YouTube:

A Ciência Aberta nas Humanidades:

SciELO Preprints:


About Bernardo Borges Buarque de HollandaPortrait of professor Bernardo Buarque

He is an adjunct professor at the School of Social Sciences (FGV-CPDOC). He is a postdoctoral fellow at thde Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris (Bourse Hermès-2009) and at the University of Birmingham (Rutherford Fellowship – 2018). He is a board member of the International Oral History Association (IOHA) and editor on the Estudos Históricos and Words & Silences journals. He is general secretary of the Brazilian Association of Oral History.  His main areas of interest are: social history of football and organized supporters; modernism and literary life in Brazil; Brazilian culture – criticism and interpretation; social thought and intellectual history.


About Luiz Augusto CamposPortrait of sociology and political science professor Luiz Augusto Campos in his apartment in Rio.

Luiz Augusto Campos is Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the Institute of Social and Political Studies at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (IESP-UERJ), and PhD from the same institution. He is the coordinator of the Affirmative Action Multidisciplinary Study Group (Grupo de Estudos Multidisciplinares da Ação Afirmativa, GEMAA) and editor-in-chief at the DADOS journal. His research focuses on the interface between race and politics.



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


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

CAMPOS, L.A. and DE HOLLANDA, B.B. Representing the Humanities collection on the SciELO platform (2022-2023) [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2024 [viewed ]. Available from:


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