South American SciELO Open Access Site

Richard Van Noorden | | October 22, 2013

Researchers and publishers are gathering this week in São Paulo, Brazil, to celebrate a quietly subversive open-access publishing project. The occasion: the 15th anniversary of SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online), a subsidized collection of mainly Latin American journals that now puts out more than 40,000 free-to-read articles each year — and which aims to put developing countries firmly on the scientific map.

Although little noticed by European and North American scientists, SciELO is “one of the more exciting projects not only from emergent countries, but also in the whole world”, argues Jean-Claude Guédon, an open-access supporter who studies comparative literature at the University of Montreal in Canada.In contrast to fee-charging open-access journals, journals on the SciELO platform charge authors little or nothing to publish because state and government funders provide infrastructure and software. That backing has helped to make Brazilian research the most open in the world — in 2011, 43% of Brazilian science articles were free to read on publication, compared with, for example, 6% of US articles.