WG 2

The historical, academic and social relevance of SciELO journals

Languages: Portuguese and Spanish. Simultaneous translation not available.


The WG2 ” Historical, academic and social relevance of SciELO journals” is organized into four discussion sessions that explore specific aspects of the importance of scientific journals and specifically those that are part of the SciELO collections in the different Latin American countries that are part of the network.

09:00-10:30  The assessment of the scientific relevance of knowledge production and its circulation from citation indicators: limitations and the role of SciELO

The current predominant way of assessing the scientific relevance of knowledge production and the journals dedicated to publishing it is based on citation indicators. Metrics to estimate and compare references that inform the development of knowledge and the construction of theory are useful for various purposes, but have become the object of several criticisms that accuse the negative effects of its decontextualized and overvalued employment. This session aims at discussing both the appropriate place for such indicators and broader ways of assessing the scientific relevance of knowledge and its circulation, as well as SciELO’s role in promoting the latter.

Adrian Gurza Lavalle – Professor Doutor, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Departamento de Ciência Política da Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH); Pesquisador, Centro de Pesquisa, Inovação e Difusão de Estudos da Metrópole (CEM) & Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP); Coordenador, Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP), Núcleo de Pesquisa Democracia e Ação Coletiva (NDAC); Editor-Chefe, Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

Francisco Osorio – Académico, Universidad de Chile (Uchile), Departamento de Antropología; Coordinador, Foro de Editores Científicos de Chile; Editor, Cinta de Moebio

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 The role of scientific journals in the transmission institutions of knowledge production

Scientific journals are often evaluated and, in Latin America, financed with public money based on their efficiency as a means of certification and circulation of scientific knowledge. These are two central tasks, but journals play other relevant roles in universities and scientific associations that tend to receive less attention. This session aims to analyze the role of journals in education, graduate student training, consolidation of scientific associativism and other academic functions carried out in the university system, as well as examine possible ways to incorporate these documents in the SciELO evaluation criteria.

Patricia Méndez – Investigador Independiente, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET); Académica, Universidad de Belgrano (UB) & Universidad del Bío-Bío (UBB); Coordinadora Técnica, Centro de Documentación de Arquitectura Latinoamericana (CEDODAL) Download

Adriano Codato – Professor de Ciência Politica, Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR); Pesquisador, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq); Editor, Revista de Sociologia e Política Download

12:30-14:00 Lunch break

14:00-15:30 The role of scientific journals in public decision-making

The idea that knowledge serves to make better decisions is one of the most traditional formulations of the relationship between knowledge and power. Although the formulation seems more appropriate for the relationship between certain areas of knowledge and the nations’ decision-makers in the different instances in which public policies are decided, it is known that the ability of scientific knowledge to inform policy follows quite contingent paths. This session aims to reflect on the role of scientific journals and their influence on the circuits of public policy production, as a knowledge transformation agent in the public domain.

15:30-16:00 Coffee break

16:00-17:30 The social relevance of scientific journals: how to reflect and evaluate?

The communities of authors and readers of scientific journals are mostly composed of researchers, professors and students, by definition linked to knowledge production and transmission institutions. Therefore, when the issue of journals social relevance is raised, it is usually answered in fairly general and indirect terms, generally invoking the importance of knowledge in contemporary societies. However, there are social or non-academic journal readers and they have played a relevant role in building political-social fields of action and epistemic communities. This session considers the challenge of reflecting on the social relevance of journals and possible ways of evaluating it.


The main justification for the existence and importance of the SciELO Program comes from the recognition of the relevance of journals published nationally in the respective national research systems. This recognition is historically evidenced by the fact that in most countries of the SciELO Network, an important part of scientific output is better communicated by journals published in the country by scientific societies, professional associations, universities and other education and research institutions.

Nationally produced quality journals play key roles in national scientific production systems. On the one hand, there is the function of evaluating and communicating research with a national or regional central focus on the objects of study, publication languages and priorities that inform different audiences, most of them academics in research and education activities, but also companies and professionals, and public policy makers. On the other hand, publishing journals of increasing quality strengthens national scientific communication infrastructures and capacities, which is a key function in the flow of scientific output. From these functions, the publication of quality journals contributes to make all disciplines, thematic areas and research communities to actively participate in the global flow of scientific information.

To a large extent, these journals are operationally supported by some contribution of public resources either by the nature of the responsible organizations such as universities, for example, or by government funding programs for journals. However, most depend on the dedication of researchers who make up the editorial staff and often from research communities. In no case the journals indexed by SciELO are for profit, although some of them are published by companies or private foundations. At the same time, national collections of the SciELO Network, led and funded mostly by national scientific research funding organizations, are expressions of public policies to support research infrastructure and communication. In fact, the consolidated SciELO collections bring together the nucleus of the best nationally published journals with the objective of collectively improving their editorial quality following the state of the art and strengthening and increasing their national and international visibility as measured by use, influence and impact.

However, a key indicator of the journals’ current and future relevance in national research systems is the recognition and appreciation they receive by research evaluation systems.

The proposed scope for this working group includes the analysis and debate of the historical, academic and social relevance of the journals indexed by the SciELO collections as research communication vehicles for the creation, development and consolidation of academic communities and their capacity to do and communicate research in different disciplines and thematic areas, as well as the contribution to education, professional update and public policies. By highlighting the relevance of SciELO journals in the national scientific production systems, the perspective is to promote the proper valuation in the national systems of research evaluation.

How to contribute

You are invited to participate and cooperate with the SciELO 20 Years celebration with comments, testimonies, blog posts, articles, etc, related to the topic of this or working groups.


ALPERIN, J. P. The Public Impact of Latin America’s Approach to Open Access. Stanford: Stanford University, 2015.

ALPERIN, J.P. and ROZEMBLUM, C. The Reinterpretation of the Visibility and Quality of New Policies to Assess Scientific Publications. Revista Interamericana de Bibliotecología [online]. 2018, vol. 40, no. 3. ISSN 2538-9866. [viewed 17 August 2018]. DOI: 10.17533/udea.rib.v40n3a04. Available from: https://aprendeenlinea.udea.edu.co/revistas/index.php/RIB/article/view/327794/20785493

BEIGEL, F. Las relaciones de poder en la ciencia mundial. Un anti-ranking para conocer la ciencia producida en la periferia. Nueva Sociedad, N°274, p.13-28. ISSN: 0251-3552 [viewed 11 September 2018]. Available from: http://nuso.org/media/articles/downloads/TG.Beigel_274.pdf

BUSTOS-GONZALES, A. and PALMA, P. M. Impacto do SciELO Chile: uma ferramenta de apoio à graduação. In: PACKER, A.L., et al., orgs. SciELO – 15 Anos de Acesso Aberto: um estudo analítico sobre Acesso Aberto e comunicação científica. Paris: UNESCO, 2014, 188 p. ISBN 978-92- 3701-237-6. Available from:http://dx.doi.org/10.7476/9789237012376.

CETTO, A. M., GUÉDON, J. C. and VESSURI, H. Excellence or quality? Impact of the current competition regime on science and scientific publishing in Latin America and its implications for development. Current Sociology [online]. 2014 vol. 62, no. 5. ISSN: 1461-7064. [viewed 21 August 2018]. DOI: 10.1177/0011392113512839. Available from: http://eprints.rclis.org/23682/1/Current-socio-published-non-Sage-format.pdf

MARIN, A., PETRALIA, S. and STUBRIN, L. Evaluating the Impact of Open Access Initiatives within Academia and Beyond. In: Made in Latin America: open access, scholarly journals, and regional innovations. LÓPEZ, E. A. [et.al.]; Editors: ALPERÍN, J. P. and FISHERMAN, G. 1a ed. – Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires : CLACSO, 2015. ISBN 978-987-722-069-8 . Available from: http://www.scielo.org/local/content/pdf/C_.pdf

POYNDER, R. Realising the BOAI vision: A view from the global South [online]. Open and Shut? 2017 [viewed 17 August 2018]. Available from: https://poynder.blogspot.com/2017/12/realising-boai-vision-view-from-global.html

VASEN, F. and VILCHIS, I.L. Sistemas nacionales de clasificación de revistas científicas en América Latina: tendencias recientes e implicaciones para la evaluación académica en ciencias sociales. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales [online]. 2017, vol. 62, no. 231. ISSN 2448-492X. [viewed 17 August 2018]. DOI: 10.1016/S0185-1918(17)30043-0. Available from: http://www.revistas.unam.mx/index.php/rmcpys/article/view/58652/54270


CODATO, A. Utilizando citações para além do fator de impacto: uma alternativa para determinar topografias científicas. SciELO 20 Years Repository [online]. 2018 [viewed 21 September 2018]. Available from: http://repository.scielo20.org/documents/article/view/119

KATIME, I. and ARIAS-ISAZA, F. Las revistas científicas como un instrumento orientador en la toma de decisiones: El caso del Boletín de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, Invemar. SciELO 20 Years Repository [online]. 2018 [viewed 17 September 2018]. Available from: http://repository.scielo20.org/documents/article/view/105

MENDEZ, P.S. Asociación de Revistas Latinoamericanas de Arquitectura (ARLA): El estatus científico y disciplinar de las ediciones de arquitectura del continente. SciELO 20 Years Repository [online]. 2018 [viewed 21 September 2018]. Available from: http://repository.scielo20.org/documents/article/view/107

OSORIO, F. Los indicadores de impacto y el rol de SciELO. SciELO 20 Years Repository [online]. 2018 [viewed 21 September 2018]. Available from: http://repository.scielo20.org/documents/article/view/117


In development.


In development.


powered by Odyno gGroupslogo


In development.

Group coordinator

Adrian Gurza Lavalle


Gabriela Córdova-Rivera

Executive Secretary

Henrique Rodrigues