Is SciELO a Publication Favela?

Open access neighborhood.

Open access.

Scholarly open-access publishing has little value when it’s effectively hidden and almost no one reads the published research. It’s possible for a scholarly article to be open-access but largely hidden from the world. Here’s how.

Commercial publisher platforms effectively help expose and promote published research. Publishers maintain close connections with libraries and very effectively distribute their content— both subscription journals and open-access journals — to actual library users, including faculty, students, and postdocs. Commercial publishers work with databases to ensure their published content is indexed. They add value to published articles by making it easy for citation management metadata to be easily exportable. The make available alerting services so researchers know when a new article relevant to their research appears.

Thus, commercial publisher platforms are nice neighborhoods for scholarly publications. On the other hand, some open-access platforms are more like publication favelas.

SciELO and Redalyc

The SciELO and Redalyc logos.

The SciELO and Redalyc logos.

Meta-publishers such as SciELO and Redalyc aggregate scholarly content but do a poor job of distributing it or increasing its visibility, despite the fact that both services are open-access. Many North American scholars have never even heard of these meta-publishers or the journals they aggregate. Their content is largely hidden, the neighborhood remote and unfamiliar.

The Brazilian government is aware of this, and last year it invited representatives from six of the world’s top scholarly publishers to give presentations and bid on taking over the management of some Brazilian open-access journals.

The government knows that commercial publishers would do a much better job of exposing Brazilian research, and it wanted to take advantage of this, for the benefit of Brazilians. The effort was halted, however, when excluding Brazilian companies from the bidding process was determined to be illegal, a major setback for the better promotion and exposure of Brazilian science.

Thomson Reuters is making a new product available called the SciELO Citation Index. It may give greater exposure to content aggregated in SciELO, but how many libraries will license the product?


So, what’s the best neighborhood for one’s published work? There are thousands of unaffiliated, unknown open-access journals published all over the world that are very effectively hiding the research they publish, despite being OA. Their content is not indexed (except perhaps in Google Scholar, a database poisoned by fringe science), and it’s just sitting there with little value added to it. Much of it will disappear over time. Because copyright of the articles is retained by authors, there may be little future interest in maintaining, publishing, and promoting the content.

102 Responses to Is SciELO a Publication Favela?

  1. Michael Bragg says:

    SciELO is available on the Web of Science platform to support for search and discovery of this content

  2. Shirley Ainsworth says:

    I am not at all convinced that the inclusion of Brazilian and other Latin American journals on ‘top scholarly publisher sites’ is any panacea. This year has seen a significant migration of them to Elsevier and to a lesser extent Springer, mostly maintaining their OA status whilst paying large dollar amounts for the privilege and services rendered. It is noticeable the number of Arab and Chinese journals that are employing the same ‘get rich quick’ techniques.

    However their inclusion in important databases like Pubmed is indeed crucial.

    For those interested, a new OA book “Hecho en Latinoamérica. Acceso abierto, revistas académicas e innovaciones regionales” edited by Juan Pablo Alperin and Gustavo Fischman was published this month by CLACSO

  3. Anderson says:

    Could you please explain better your concept of Favela? Thank you…

  4. Andre Serradas says:

    Maybe your post is useful to publicize SciELO and Redalyc to american researchers!

  5. dzrlib says:

    As an aside, the SciELO concept is expanding:

    “It is with great pleasure that I divulge the new Brazilian Portal of
    Scientific Publications in Open Access (oasisbr), completely reworked. This is an important initiative of the Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology (IBICT), and aims at gathering the Brazilian scientific publications in open access in a single search portal. Are scientific articles, books, book chapters, theses, dissertations and papers published in scientific events available in open access on the internet.

    It’s almost 1,000,000 of Brazilian scientific publications in open access. The oasisbr has, today, in total, more than 1,200,000 documents because it brings together scientific production also present in Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal (RCAAP)

  6. lpanebr says:

    Scielo is currently undertaking the final steps in a major refactoring of all its platform. They now got all journals to send them near-JATS XML of the articles fulltext. Aggregating more value and promoting visibility is in the work and will come eventually.

    Major international journals (eLife, plos and others) are already leaving the copyright of the articles with authors. What is the relationship of the copyright been retained by authors with the future interest in maintaining them.

  7. This a very controversial issue!
    “Commercial publisher platforms effectively help expose and promote published research. Publishers maintain close connections with libraries and very effectively distribute their content— both subscription journals and open-access journals — to actual library users, including faculty, students, and postdocs.”

  8. I think you are pointing to an important problem with small, stand-alone journals here. Lack of publishing (not scholarly) competence results in low-visibility research, often of a quality that would merit better visibility.

  9. Pero Šipka says:

    What about non-commercial OA meta-publishers, such as national citation databases providers in small, developing countries?

    One of those, CEON/CEES that publishes the Serbian Citation Index (, adds more value to the papers than commercial publishers/aggregators: by providing standard visibility, searchability and downlodability, plus by normalizing author names and affiliations, by linking references both internally and externally, by checking legitimacy of references in all and plagiarism in some papers, and more. Journals are monitored, evaluated and ranked. Those violating ethical codes are suppressed or suspended more strictly and transparently than done by Web of Science.
    CEON/CEES is a non-for-profit organization, and SCIndeks is an OA service. Journals pay the average amount equivalent to 300 USD a year for the whole job. Would any commercial aggregator do it?
    I would say that the question of “publication favelas” (raised for good reason and quite properly labeled) is a matter of public responsibility, academic virtue, and business ethics, rather than commercial vs. non-commercial, or OA vs. subscription-based dichotomy.

    • Few people in North America have ever heard of it.
      I imagine it’s subsidized by the government, so of course the price will be lower.

      • Pero Šipka says:

        May be true for the American publication specialists. However, among our 1.500 to 9.000 visitors a day about 2% come from US and Canada. This figures would be bigger if we were treated fairly by Google Scholar. Also, we are not much active in promoting the service and its business model. Thanks for the push.

        As to the government support, it lasted for over ten years, and was recently cancelled due to the budget cuts. Now they support our Journal Evaluation Report only. Sharing production charges between government research fund and journal publishers seems to be a reasonable financing framework that can be recommended to other small countries, where OA is a must, i.e. the only plausible model for research dissemination.

      • Vinicius Ferreira says:

        Of course the most part of North American scholar have never heard a lot of things happening all over the world; this is called provincialism. And it does not mean that the whole world should be adapted for you; which has been called colonialism. Rather, it means that the time is come to North Americans be a little more open-minded to the diversity of academic experiences and languages. It is evident that the fact that Scielo be an Open Acces publishing does not mean that it will be known everywhere; this only means that it will be accessible from anywhere. To access is up to you. There are historical reasons, farly discussed by post-colonial theory, which explains why many foreign scholars ignore what happens in regions like Latin America, Asia and Africa.

        Your argument is simply fallacious. To be published by a payed (very very well payed, we should say) publisher does not change anything in this matter. The only possible change is the NA abandon its intellectual provincialism, its monolinguism and understand that different models and academic universes do exist. You do keep the reactive position “if something is not shaped for us, this is not international”.

        PS. You cannot even imagine how offensive is for us, Latin American scholars, this kind of stereotype “Brazil = favelas = misery”. You could have found a less prejudiced metaphor.

      • nobodydoit says:

        Dear Jeffrey Beall, there are lives beyond USA! Best regards!

      • Few people in North America heard about things outside North America. I knew about Scielo five years before to know about University of Colorado. Maybe if Americans read spanish and portuguese, they could find their articles.

  10. Khas Ria says:

    The name “Scielo” sounds like ‘silo’? To be scientific is to invite happy reviewers and citations. Within or outside the country or origin can be better or worst. Thomson Reuters has the experience, let them try and help Brazil.

    • I actually think the name SciELO is a play on the Spanish word cielo (sky / heaven).
      Even with the addition of Thompson Reuters’ SciELO Citation Index, few in North America have ever heard of SciELO or the journals it aggregates. Simply being open-access is not sufficient.

      • Anderson says:

        Scientific Electronic Library Online. You can read more on:

      • Eloa says:

        Please don’t make judgments where you don’t have knowledge. Sci is from science and elo is linked in Portuguese. Your lack of respect and information only reinforce the xenophobia in USA.
        The main idea is provide free articles and isais used by who is in the beginning of the carrier.

  11. Hooman Momen says:

    I believe you are mistaken in your comments about SciELO. I was the editor of one of the first journals, Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, to use the SciELO platform, more than 15 years ago. Today the Memorias is the most cited journal published in Latin America with 5899 citations in 2014 ( data from JCR published by Thomson Reuters). The journal also had the highest eigenfactor of any Latin American journal. These indices put us ahead of Latin American Journals published by the major commercial publishers and suggest that giving visibility to developing country journals is more than just a choice of publisher. A great deal of the success of the Memorias has been due to the professionalism, knowhow and competence of the SciELO staff and the platform they manage has given our centennial journal the tools, access and visibility allowing the journal to serve readers and authors all over the world. I think many Latin American editors and scientists share similar sentiments regarding SciELO.
    The Brazilian government initiative that you refer to was an ill conceived project of a Government agency whose director has since been replaced and has been widely criticized by the Brazilan scientific and academic publishing community. Unfortunately these documents are in Portuguese but the incompetence of the selection process is I believe sufficient testimony. What would happen if an American governmental agency made a tender and excluded American companies from participating?

    • When I do a Google search for Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, the first link that appears is not to SciELO but to the journal’s homepage on the website. I believe the journal’s success is not due to SciELO but to the quality of the journal itself and its own website. Why did you fail to mention the journal’s true homepage? Your comment may mislead some.

      I have found SciELO’s computer servers to be slow, and the journals’ native homepages are often easier to use and access than the SciELO pages.

      I only mentioned the Brazilian government initiative to demonstrate that people in Brazil itself are frustrated with the invisibility of SciELO, and not to comment on the country’s anti-competitive, protectionist economic policies.

      • Hooman Momen says:

        I entirely agree with you that the key ingredient to a journal’s success is its quality and contents and not the platform it is published on. However I just did a search in Google on the Memorias do Instituo Oswaldo Cruz and the first site to come up was in fact the SciELO site. May be it depends from where you access Google. The main point however is that SciELO does not just provide a website but a range of services to Brazilian journals s well as journals from other countries. These include providing content in the right formats to enable indexing in PubMed and obtaining DOIs, a multilingual content platform and user interface, access and citation metrics, XML mark up and workflows and links from journal contents to other databases. All of which help to improve journal visibility. SciELo also helps to develop national capacity in scientific editing and publishing.

        Several journals that were using SciELO have been enticed by commercial publishers to move to their proprietary platforms. A cursory examination would indicate that this has not improved their citation metrics but it would be interesting to make a proper evaluation. Additionally nearly sixty South African journals use the SciELO platform after searching and choosing the best publishing platform for their needs.

        Giving visibility to science produced in developing and emerging countries is a complex problem. I believe that SciELO can certainly be improved as a publishing platform but by likening, one of the most successful project to address this problem, to a favela does a tremendous disservice to scholarly publishing.

      • Thank you for your comment, and please understand that my use of this metaphor follows up on the use of the phrase “publications ghetto” used in August, 2014 by a professor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln to describe institutional repositories. No one that I know of was offended by this use of the term. No one attacked her personally for using it.

      • And 27 OA journals are on the AOSIS platform as well.

  12. It is certainly a point the OA community should take – making the OA production visible beyond the vague neighborhoods of conventional search mechanisms! Favela is the Brazilian word for the settlements of jerry-built shacks which lie on the outskirts of some big Brazilian cities, growing as somewhat unstructured but very organic and sociologically rich communities. Maybe the visibility we miss in SciELO could develop from this sociological richness.

  13. Hooman Momen says:

    I hope you do not feel that my attempt to correct the inaccuracies in your original post is a personal attack. The millions of visits to the SciELO sites each month would indicate that this platform is not hidden. The North American scholars who you state have never heard of the site or the journals can easily find them in any competent search as all the SciELO journals are covered by services such as Scopus and Google Scholar while many are also covered in more selective indices. Or are these scholars also unaware of these services?

    • My experience with academic librarians in North America is that very few have ever even heard of SciELO.
      It’s included in Web of Science, but I think the ranking algorithms do not favor results from the SciELO database, and Thomson Reuters’ new search interface is confusing to many and slow.

      • Mr. Bell I think you are generalizing too much who are those academic librarians that don’t know what is SciELO. Many Latin American subject librarians, many of them who are members of SALALM, know of ScieLO, Latindex, RedALyC and share this information with their faculty through library instructions and research guides. Also, when I do searches on Latin American topics (usually using Spanish terms but also in English) in Google Scholars, I found many articles indexed by these portals. I think that Google Scholars do search differently depending on your own search patterns, location, etc… so that is not a good measurement. I think we also should consider the fact that no all scholars in the United States or Canada reads academic Spanish which limit how many people can actually read what is offered in such sites.

        I believe that more people should know about these portal, of course, but I don’t think that is appropriate to describe them as “favelas”. But, thank you for bringing so much attention to what I considered excellent open access projects. Maybe now because of your post most people will check them out.

      • My apologies for the typos in my previous reply. Also, I should have included a link to SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials), a library professional organization that deals with this issue and much more.

  14. tekija says:

    In my part of the world, the first and second Google hits on searching for Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz are to SciELO and the third to the journal home page.

  15. Pamela Graham says:

    I have worked in the field of Latin American Studies Librarianship for over 20 years. I have followed both RedALyC and SciELO throughout my career. How are you substantiating the claim that most North American scholars do not know about these platforms? The systematic and careful development of metrics has been a strong achievement of these projects and that data suggests these platforms are indeed heavily used. Twenty years ago, there were no commercial publishers eagerly offering to “help” bring visibility to Latin American journals. These platforms and the larger OA movement that surrounds them have revolutionized journal publishing in Latin America, in my opinion, and I do not use “revolutionized” lightly. I know how challenging and difficult it was identify and source journals published in Latin America in the pre-SciELO days. In the last 20 years, common standards, procedures and access models have unified scholarly journal publishing within Latin America. This was done not only in service to the needs of U.S.–based scholars, but primarily to advance the growth of scholarly communities in many disciplines within Latin America. Among U.S.-based researchers and librarians in the field of Latin American Studies, recognition is high. I have organized sessions at the Latin American Studies Association (starting in the late 1990s, and up until this past May) featuring these projects. Name recognition of these projects isn’t really the point, however. If they are fostering better editorial standards, improved technical best practices, and support for greater visibility in other indexes and search environments, more researchers will discover the journals. More importantly, they will also be able to access what they find. Your “nice neighborhood” might be more accurately described as a gated community. Last time I was in Rio, I took a favela tour and saw up-close the complexity and conditions that reside in those environments. Lots of problems and challenges but also innovation, logic and creativity. Do we need a scholarly publishing favela tour to bring nuance and greater understanding to publishing environments beyond our literal and figurative borders?

    • Wow, an excessively self-referential and pedantic comment from someone who condescendingly visited a favela as a tourist. Where did your tour bus take you after the Favela?

      • Mati says:

        You’ve lost the important!

      • Rafael Ibarra says:

        Hey, you probably lost the arguments to stand your point, but do not loose your temper, you got rude. La calidad no se mide en estadísticas; la cantidad, sí. Recuerdo muy bien cuando la iniciativa de OA tuvo como detractores a diversos empleados de varias editoriales. ¿Qué ocurrió después? Los editores ‘muchas mañas’ no tuvieron más remedio que “incluir” la opción de OA (verde y oro). Definitivamente, no se trata de un duelo entre David y Goliat. Me pregunto cuántos autores, no nativo-hablantes del idioma inglés publican y arbitran en revistas tradicionales. La ciencia no es privativa de los nativo-hablantes de la lengua inglesa.

  16. […] 1. BEALL, J. Is SciELO a Publication Favela? Scholarly Open Access. 2015. Available from: […]

  17. […] 1. BEALL, J. Is SciELO a Publication Favela? Scholarly Open Access. 2015. Available from: […]

  18. […] Post on His (July 30, 2015): “Is SciELO a Publication Favela?” The post also mentions […]

  19. […] “Is SciELO a Publication Favela?” July 30, 2015) The post also mentions Redalyc. 32 comments have been shared as of Tuesday, August 4, 2015. […]

  20. The Mr. Beall’s comments go beyond a simple criticism of the SciELO and REDALYC projects, which will only try to give visibility to the Latin American science through its scientific journals.

    First he presents a classist position, because it discriminates a type of housing used by millions of poor people around the world. Secondly he presents a mercantilist position because privileges the scholarly publication based on commercial publishers.

    Will be interesting to invite Mr. Beall to live a season in a popular neighborhood at Latin America. He can to help us with a literacy program in a community library during the morning, and during the afternoon go to a state university for to work as editor executive of a social sciences journal. Maybe then he could to adjust your worldview.

    Too Legit To Quit !

    • This hackneyed analysis is of little value and focuses chiefly on me, rather than on the important question I raised. Attacking me will not make research published in SciELO journals more visible or impactful.

      If SciELO is so great, then why do so many Brazilian and other Latin American researchers prefer to publish in journals from commercial publishers?

      For the record, I’ve lived in Latin America for three years and am fluent in Spanish.

      • Julius says:

        Estimado Jeffrey,

        Si usted ya vivió en Latinoamérica, entonces usted debería saber de las dificultades que los editores científicos debemos enfrentar en nuestros países para sacar adelante a nuestras publicaciones. Propuestas como SciELO y REDALYC contribuyen y apoyan el esfuerzo que realizamos.

        Aclaro que el problema no son las editoriales comerciales, el problema es la imposición sistemática que se hace a nuestros países de usar los productos y servicios de esas editoriales.

        En América Latina, al igual que en otras regiones, hay investigadores y áreas donde existe una exigencia por participar y publicar en revistas del círculo de las editoriales comerciales; pero no son todos los investigadores, ni todas las áreas. Una alternativa al modelo de publicación TA es el modelo OA, y en América Latina como en otras regiones, inclusive América del Norte, se esta adoptando de forma progresiva.

        Nuestras regiones tienen contextos y realidades diferentes, en consecuencia tenemos intereses diferentes, y temas de investigación diferentes. Nosotros necesitamos herramientas y canales de comunicación científica ad hoc a nuestras necesidades, o sea nuestras propias revistas, nuestros propios índices, nuestras propias medidas.

        Considero que toda crítica a nuestros proyectos y esfuerzos debe ser constructiva, con respeto, de igual a igual. La ciencia contemporánea es transdisciplinar, social, integradora, dialogante.

        Sigamos dialogando.

      • Alvaro Neder says:

        For the record, the language spoken in Brazil is Portuguese.

  21. […] 1. BEALL, J. Is SciELO a Publication Favela? Scholarly Open Access. 2015. Available from: […]

  22. Jeffrey Bealley’s move against SciELO has been generally recognized as a move against open access worldwide. Representing SciELO-Mexico and probably all SciELO network, we joined this understanding. In addition, we do repudiate his move as antiethical and, therefore, subject to retraction under trustful contexts.

    The marginalization and invisibility of Latin American journals is a phenomenon described exactly twenty years ago in an article entitled “Lost Science in the Third World” (W. Wayt Gibbs published in Scientific American in August 1995… if you can not read the full text of the document is that … oops! you do not belong to an institution that has paid access to this resource).

    During these twenty years, information technology opened the pattern to create a new model for scientific publication that allowed drastically reduce publishing costs and effectively achieve global dissemination. Latin America stood out as one of the most favorable territories for publication in open access and SciELO program, which began in 1997, it was one of the pioneering initiatives
    Moreover SciELO adopted strict selection criteria as part of its strategic objectives with the intention of promoting the maturation of national journals, and assimilation of computer tools applied to electronic publishing in order to pair with international trends in the field. The results are evident, although unknown to Bealley: SciELO forms part of the classical neighborhoods as WoS, PubMed, Scopus and DOAJ, with which it shares information through transfer systems and interoperability.

    The truth is that SciELO has successfully completed one of the objectives for which it was created: meet the needs of dissemination and access to autochthonous knowledge in your own neighborhood. This need was not covered by the commercial information systems, either for their discriminatory selection criteria or for their equally or more discriminatory prices. In SciELO, we believe that open access is an inalienable social achievement and the final beneficiaries of scientific research should be the communities that support this research including, of course, the inhabitants of the favelas and marginalized neighborhoods of our countries.

  23. Dennis Trombatore says:

    I have seen little interest from SALALM in science or science related literature, which is a pity and something that should be remedied, in no small part because the vendors that supply Latin American materials are thereby encouraged to also ignore these topics in their offerings.

    • I am a member of SALALM and I can’t agree with your statement, Mr. Trombatore. Some of us acquired print sciences materials while others do not based on our institutions’ research needs. Our vendors are excellent in finding and supplying sciences materials and much as social sciences and humanities. They can also customize their lists to identify any topic you want to acquire, including sciences.

      Now, it is also important to remember that in the sciences the emphasis is to acquire journals, no print monographs. Many of us already subscribed to many Latin American and Caribbean sciences print and online journals. SciELO is a great resource of OA sciences journals in Latin America and its content complements our holdings. As mentioned already, SciELO content is searchable in Web of Sciences, Scopus, and Google Scholar so our faculty already gets access to this important resource.

  24. […] was recently made aware of a post by Jeffrey Beall, librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, with the curious title (let us […]

  25. Mike says:

    For those who don’t known SCIELO, here is an interesting perspective from this open access portal

  26. […] que iria causar ao publicar uma postagem intitulada “Is Scielo a publication favela” (Aqui!), onde ele basicamente se ateve a analisar como plataformas como a Scielo (Aqui!) e Redalyc (Aqui!) […]

  27. Dear Mr. Beall,

    I think you’re off base on this one. My colleagues and I read scientific journal articles almost exclusively online. Some of the SciELO journals have been in MEDLINE for years, more are in PMC, and they’re all available via other search engines. In this setting, it’s kind of silly to say that these journals would be more widely available, or even better known, if they sold themselves to Elsevier or Wiley or whoever. The more likely consequence is that most of their articles would no longer be available for free to clinicians and patients.

    About the name: I don’t know if this is true, but I always figured that the acronym SciELO was chosen in part because “elo” is the Portuguese name for “link” (as in a chain). (I lived in Brazil in the early 1980s.)

  28. Dear Jeffrey Beall,

    I believe that the work that you have done is very important to provide academics and postgraduate students with guidelines about good publishing practices. In fact, I include your blog a compulsory reading for my postgraduate students in the University of Guadalajara (Mexico). Moreover, as member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences, I have recommended your blog to my colleages in order to encourage better publishing practices.

    However, this time I completely disagree with you. As a Latin-American scholar I can tell you that REDALYC, SCIELO and LATINDEX are by far the best academic platforms to divulge the scientific research existing in the Latin-American region, Portugal and Spain. They are supported by public universities that in many cases are not allowed to charge fees to anyone (LATINDEX is supported by UNAM; REDALYC is supported by UAEM: SCIELO is supported by various universities). Furthermore, the platforms are not commercially driven because most of the publishers of scientific journals of the region accept that the market is not big enough to have a commercial value (Many of the journals included in such platforms cannot sell 50 printed copies of each issue).

    One of the reasons why the publishing market has no commercail value is associated to the orientation of the journals included in such platforms. In this context, it is also worthy to point out that the platforms are oriented to divulge research published mainly in local languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese) and issues of local interest (mainly related to social sciences). These features of these platforms are important to emphasize because many academics of the region are not able to write in English and because some research issues may not be not interesting for wider audiences.

    Paradoxically, I should point out that in the Latin-American region the mentioned open-access platforms are very respected because the academic criteria used to enlist journals and papers is very strict. In fact, when a local journal is listed in one of these platforms, it is almost automatic for such journal to apply for national grants and university funds. In addition, authors that publish in such journals can easily apply for research grants and tenure promotions. Furthermore, in several local postgraduate programmes, a requisite to obtain the degree is to have a paper published in one of these platforms. That is why there is a fierce competitition to publish in journals listed in them. Moreover, I can tell you by experience, that the referee and publication processes can be easier and faster in journals listed in EBSCO, Sciencedirect, Inderscience and Elsevier, than in journals listed in REDALYC and SCIELO.

    Finally, I believe that you should not use the term “Publication favela” to describe these open-access platforms. The term is offensive but also misleading. These platforms are serious efforts developed in poor countries to divulge scientific research and academic studies of local issues. Real not-for-profit and real open-access does not mean poor academic quality. One of the reasons I encourage my students and colleages to read your blog is because it provides a serious discussion forum regarding publication issues. In this context, and for the sake of the blog, it is important to explain how and why these open-access platforms work. The efforts involved in such platforms should not be disqualified by what seems some lack of understanding.

  29. José M. Brabo Alves says:

    Well, I don’t like to give their views on personal questions that are not consensus, more thought derogatory comment. There are big financial interests at the time of globalized media and scientific dissemination is an area included in this issue. As the credibility or not research in closed or open portals today very common are both questionable. There are many articles in journals of closed portals that about methodologies, results, etc. are as simple and no extraordinary those published in open portals open. I think that the portals open come to consolidate and tools are interesting.

    José M. Brabo Alves

  30. So, the problem is not visibility. It’s the feasibility of a new kind of intellectual colonisation. Favelas inspirate fear.

  31. […] Tuffani avisou em seu blog (Aqui! ) que a postagem do professor Jeffrey Beall sobre o Scielo (Aqui!)  iria dar oportunidade para que se jogasse uma nuvem de fumaça na discussão que realmente […]

  32. Ana C. A. Rodrigues says:

    “Many North American scholars have never even heard of these meta-publishers or the journals they aggregate”
    Don’t you see how ethnocentric is this argument?

    I can’t even start to argue against your text – there are so many issues, that it would take me my whole evening. But I need to point out that your post lacks on one primordial requirement to a scientific approach: impartiality. Your arguments are biased by particular interests, ethnocentrism and prejudice. Your conclusions are based on false premises, and weak concepts. You mention “favelas” and you mention what the Brazilian government expect without enough comprehension of them.

    Should I be as hasty as you are in your conclusions and generalizations, I would say that your post gives a great view of what commercial publisher platforms have to offer to the scientific community: marginalization.

    After all, what is it that creates favelas? Are you saying they (and their inhabitants) are less important than commercial buildings?

    • Ana,

      No, I don’t see anything ethnocentric. I was merely stating a fact, and I stand by it. Research in SciELO journals is largely hidden from most of the world despite being open access. Screaming at me will not change this fact.

      Have a nice evening.


  33. Ana C. A. Rodrigues says:

    Dear Jeffrey,
    The reason you might think I am screaming (which I am not) is the same many scholars believe your post was offensive and heedless: the signs/words we both use might have different cultural meanings. I do not believe the message you intended to send was actually sent.
    If your warning is that SciELO journals are hidden from most of the world, scholars should indeed consider this criticism and work to improve it – rather than abandon it.
    SciELO, as well as some commercial publisher platforms, contributes significantly to promote published research. Many North American scholars might have never heard of it, but all Brazilian scholars, and many, many Latin American scholars have. It plays an important role in scientific promotion – and education! (you must ponder that we have different social, economic and institutional realities – please look at a bigger picture here, or you might blur the true fact that the research needs to be exposed in different directions – outside, but keeping itself exposed inside).
    I sincerely suggest that you publish a new post, cleaning up those issues that I (and others) honestly mentioned. I stand by my argument that there are concepts and premises in your text not quite correct – again, no sarcasm or screaming here. If you consider it, you might go back on track and provoke discussion on issues that really matter: how to improve the quality of publisher platforms, how to raise access to the quality research made in the “periphery”, how to avoid not legitimate publishers.
    Have a nice evening, too.

  34. Voltar à página inicial Nota de Repúdio da SPSP says:

    A Diretoria Executiva da SPSP – Associação de Pediatria de São Paulo e a Diretoria de Publicações da Revista Paulista de Pediatria repudiam de modo veemente a tentativa de desqualificação da biblioteca eletrônica SciELO – Scientific Electronic Library Online, feita pelo sr. Jeffrey Beall, publicada no artigo preconceituoso intitulado “Is SciELO a Publication Favela?”, na tentativa de defender as grandes editoras (publishers) comerciais (ver em A competição das editoras internacionais com o SciELO não justifica a publicação do sr. Beall, que ignora fatos e menospreza os avanços extraordinários do modelo em acesso aberto do SciELO.

    A SciELO é uma biblioteca eletrônica que abrange uma coleção selecionada de periódicos científicos, resultado de um projeto de pesquisa da FAPESP – Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, em parceria com a BIREME – Centro Latino-Americano e do Caribe de Informação em Ciências da Saúde, que, desde 2002, conta com o apoio do CNPq – Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, que tem por objetivo o desenvolvimento de uma metodologia comum para a preparação, armazenamento, disseminação e avaliação da produção científica em formato eletrônico.

    É um programa gerencial, técnico e acadêmico importante e inovador na evolução da editoração e da visibilidade nacional e internacional dos periódicos do Brasil e dos 15 países-membros da Rede SciELO, cujo financiamento é liderado pela FAPESP, que se projeta internacionalmente como uma das mais avançadas e inovadoras agências governamentais de financiamento da pesquisa, e pelo CNPq, principal órgão de fomento à pesquisa do governo brasileiro. Da mesma forma, o SciELO recebe apoio de instituições públicas nos demais países da América Latina, na Espanha, em Portugal e na África do Sul.

    Ao tentar depreciar a imagem do programa SciELO, o sr. Beall extrapolou os limites morais e éticos, pelo que merece o repúdio da SPSP.

    Dra. Ruth Guinsburg
    Editora-chefe da Revista Paulista de Pediatria

    Dra. Cléa Rodrigues Leone
    Diretora de Publicações

    Dr. Mário Roberto Hirschheimer
    Presidente da Sociedade de Pediatria de São Paulo

    • Selection of articles by Ruth Guinsburg published in non-SciELO journals from top commercial publishers:

      1. Neonatal Resuscitation (Circulation : Lippincott)
      2. Differences in pain expression between male and female newborn infants (Pain : Elsevier)
      3. The impact of maternal experience of violence and common mental disorders on neonatal outcomes: a survey of adolescent mothers in Sao Paulo, Brazil (BMC Public Health : BioMed Central)
      4. Strict red blood cell transfusion guideline reduces the need for transfusions in very‐low‐birthweight infants in the first 4 weeks of life: a multicentre trial (Vox sanguinis : Wiley)

      Selection of articles by Cléa Rodrigues Leone published in non-SciELO journals from top commercial publishers:

      1. Limb deficiency with or without Möbius sequence in seven Brazilian children associated with misoprostol use in the first trimester of pregnancy (American Journal of Medical Genetics : Wiley)

      2. Pichia anomala outbreak in a nursery: exogenous source? (Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal : Wolters Kluwer)

      3. Role of plasma and urinary calcium and phosphorus measurements in early detection of phosphorus deficiency in very low birthweight infants (Acta Paediatrica : Wiley)

      Yes, both authors also have publications in local journals, but I imagine that many Brazilians use SciELO as a place to publish their works that are rejected from the top commercial publishers, works that are then largely hidden from the world.

      So, two of the people signing this comment have a significant number of publications in the journals of top commercial publishers. They think other researchers in Brazil should publish in SciELO jorunals but it’s okay for the two to publish in top commercial publishers’ journals, judging from the evidence here.

      • I did not get your point in this reply. It seems you are confusing fact with values. Since the fact that one person (in this case the director of a journal) that defends and promotes SciELO does not mean that this person should ONLY publish paper in journals hosted in SciELO. How did you infer that?

  35. […] Jeffrey Beall voltou sua atenção para o portal SciELO. Em seu site, o crítico redigiu o texto “Is SciELO a Publication Favela?”  (O SciELO é uma Favela de […]

  36. celvesta says:

    “I imagine that many Brazilians use SciELO as a place to publish their works that are rejected from the top commercial publishers” –
    This is just an assumption could be true, or could not be true. But the term used by you “Favela”, is disappointing.

  37. celvesta says:

    Yes, “Favelas themselves are disappointing.” but here we talk about a publishing SCIELO to which you’ve applied the term Favela. The term used by you “Favela”, is disappointing.
    Maybe some of your statements about SCIELO are true, but you can not speak of ethics in publishing, as long as you use such words. Such metaphors are not used.

    • I disagree. As I already indicated, in a library listserve in August, 2014, a professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln used the term “publications ghetto” to refer to institutional repositories. When she used this term, no one wet his pants like a few people in Brazil have done over the past week. There were no personal attacks. No one said he or she was offended. No blog posts were quickly prepared.

      The first blog post on the SciELO blog about me was written by a European. He sees himself as a missionary to the Brazilians, and they blindly follow him. That’s the real story here. European ‘missionaries’ are telling the Brazilians they should be angry, so they are acting angry.

  38. celvesta says:

    And if a professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has used that term, you have to take such terms “publications ghetto”?
    I disagree. What education you give to a young researcher, with such metaphors?

    If you use such metaphors, everyone will use such metaphors. That you want, that everyone to speak in such kind of language?

    • I value freedom of expression. If you don’t like others’ speech, don’t listen to it or don’t read it. Stop being totalitarian. Support freedom. Do you want Brazil to be an economic and social disaster like Venezuela?

  39. celvesta says:

    Do you believe that you can change the world with your words?
    Let’s limit ourselves to publishing. You are a model, while others quickly copy you, Do you understand that?
    Would you like that all young people from publishing to copy your words?
    Yes, I appreciate freedom of expression, but let’s talk everyone from publishing in a ghetto language! Would you like that? I do not.

  40. […] 1 […]

  41. Fausto Borém says:

    Total support to SciELO… enough of self-centered money-oriented reseach publications.

  42. […] 1. BEALL, J. Is SciELO a Publication Favela? Scholarly Open Access. 2015. Available from: […]

  43. […] 1. BEALL, J. Is SciELO a Publication Favela? Scholarly Open Access. 2015. Available from: […]

  44. arrodrigo88 says:

    I think that Mr. Jeffrey Beall not researched enough about the SciELO and Redalyc to say what he is saying. These Meta-publishers plafatormas differ much from open-acess predatory publishers. And they work exactly contrary to what the teacher says. SciELO and Redalyc have helped the Brazilian and Latin researchers in the projection of their research internationally. Perhaps Mr. Jeffrey Beall has some trouble visualize this scenario because it ignores the reality of our countries regarding scientific publishing, placing your look only within the United States.

    • I did not compare SciELO to a predatory publisher. Quite the opposite — I compared it to commercial scholarly publishing platforms and showed how it comes up short, disadvantaging the authors and readers. I asked a critical question and got mostly attacks in return, and I have learned more about the etiology of the slow pace of development in Latin America through this experience.

      • Held Barbosa de Souza says:

        I don’t see attacks, I see people that really knows the dynamic of scientific publications in latin america (well explained in the previous comments) and, like me, saw how misinformed and unfortunate you are on making bad metaphors and denigrating the image of Scielo with no scientific basis.

      • You completely missed the point.

  45. […] 1. BEALL, J. Is SciELO a Publication Favela? Scholarly Open Access. 2015. Available from: […]

  46. […] publicado un artículo en Scholarly Open Access bastante despectivo hacia SciELO y Redalyc titulado Is SciELo a publication favela? Hoy queremos traer al blog de Dadun la contundente respuesta de Juan Pablo Alperin et al. Acceso […]

  47. […] produzida pelos editores de diferentes revistas brasileiras que se reúnem no SciELO contra artigo publicado pelo sr. Jerry […]

  48. Rildo Volpini says:

    What do you understand about science? Wouldn´t you rather worry about organizing your library?

  49. […] Latina a Scielo y Redalyc, mismos que hace poco fueron atacados en un artículo denominado “Is SciELO a Publication Favela?” (“¿Es SciELO una publicación de Favela?”) y ante la desventaja del modelo “el autor […]

  50. Eduardo Fox says:

    I would like to raise a point, yet this is largely based on my personal experience. And I am still young. I do feel however that there is a big bug in this lengthy discussion.

    I, at least, do not read journal X or Y because of received pamphlets or email invitations. I must say I actually tend to shun these, for I feel most come from desperate companies.

    I get to know journals from cited references in papers/books I read.

    Thus in my view, it lies mostly on *popular authors* the power of dictating which journal/paper/topics will be the splash among readers.
    Publishers work majorly on finding various ways of seducing such popular authors, and this depends heavily on money and lobbies. There is a vicious circle generated there, large-scale manipulation.

    I think this is fodder for a much more productive debate than nationalistic views/numbers or the morality behind adjectives.

  51. Toby (pseudonym, as La Carré aficionados will know) says:

    Interesting discussion. There was bound to be a lot of aggro because we Latin Americans see the the yankees as our enemy, and this has some sort of basis in the USA internationl politics, a tradition of imperialism etc….. and we hate the bastards! But let’s face it, as scientists if we have something important to communicate, even perhaps a discovery (rare, but why not), we would never publish it in low profile journals such as those of the SciELO lot. We want to be read by our peers and they DO NOT read, and do not publish in, the BrazilianJapaneseFrontiers type of Journal. So we want to publish in the best possible Journal, to be read by our top level peers, and if we do not achieve that it must mean that we are not doing our work well. I agree with Beall (or is it Beally? Just joking Jeffrey) that putting our results in a SciELO or SciELO-like journal is to provide them with a perfect funeral service. It is my modest opinion that luring us into publishing (easily) in these Journals makes a disservice to Latin American science. Let us publish less, but let us do it better, in high profile Journals that unfortunately will generally be from the USA and a handful of European countries. But do not worry fellow Latin American scientists, our time will come, when Naturaleza, Ciencia y Célula serán las revistas de más alto índice de impacto en el mundo! But that time we will have eradicated the favelas, real and metaphoric ones!!

  52. […] de lideranças na área de publicações acadêmicas por ter publicado em julho em seu blog o post “O SciELO é uma favela de publicações?”, afirmando que essa plataforma on-line brasileira de periódicos mantida por meio de recursos […]

  53. Marques says:

    Instead of advocating the failure of public open access libraries, you should be willing it to succeed. Science should be 100% free and accessible to everyone. Now i keep asking myself how much of the commercial publishers lobby has influenced your comments. Scielo has problems, yes it does! But its well known among South American countries and, maybe you dont know it because you were not very interested in science made out of North America? Of course commercial publishers are better known, they need to advertise themselves to make more money over the science we give them for free. Also, do you really know what a favela is? One tip: It`s not a Brazilian word for “ghetto”.

  54. […] de lideranças na área de publicações acadêmicas por ter publicado em julho em seu blog o post “O SciELO é uma favela de publicações?”, afirmando que essa plataforma on-line brasileira de periódicos mantida por meio de recursos […]

  55. […] Latina a Scielo y Redalyc, mismos que hace poco fueron atacados en un artículo denominado “Is SciELO a Publication Favela?” (“¿Es SciELO una publicación de Favela?”) y ante la desventaja del modelo “el autor […]

  56. I think your post is a perfect example of stating the obvious. Does anyone really expect that an initiative like SciELO surpasses commercial publishers? Or even equate them? It will not. And it is not what it was created for. Its niche is another one.
    On the other hand, I know why you are getting so much criticism. Your choice of words was terrible. Favela may be just a “bad place” for you, but for those who live in (or near) one, is a constant reminder of a cultural condition where power is a game and human life is disposable. It is no shame to live in a favela, but it is shameful that it exists. In American terms, it was like saying something you really care about and work hard to build was hit by a plane… I think the feeling is similar…

  57. […] questionou o papel da disseminação científica das bases SciELO e Redalyc (disponível em: <;), ambas de origem e foco na América Latina. Esse mesmo blog já havia causado polêmica ao […]

  58. […] um post publicado em seu blog em 30 de julho (Is Scielo a publication favela?), o bibliotecário estadunidense Jeffrey Beal comparou o portal brasileiro Scielo a uma favela, […]

  59. F.H.C. Felix says:

    Jeffrey Beall topou com uma das idiossincrasias da sociedade brasileira e, extensivamente, latino-americana. Yes, I am replying in portuguese, if someone have a problem with this, google is out there, fellows. O fato é que, para o brasileiro, comparar uma instituição acadêmica com uma favela é um horror indizível. Isso ocorre por razões que foram bem exploradas por Gilberto Freire em seu “Casa Grande e Senzala” e em várias de suas outras obras. Para o american scholar típico, a liberdade de expressão é mais importante que tudo. Comparações de interpretação duvidosa como a que ele fez são muito comuns e o mundo do jornalismo científico está cheio delas. Como o próprio Beall apontou, coisa semelhante já foi dita lá nas terras do Tio Sam (a coisa do ‘gueto’ que, por sinal, não é um termo tão pejorativo assim aqui no Brasil) e ninguém desmaiou, nem se viu gente convulsionando. Já no Brasil, o acadêmico típico não quer perder a pose por nada deste mundo. Favela é algo de um outro mundo, de outro planeta. Os ‘favelados’ nem deveriam ter permissão de frequentar as universidades (uma idéia que pode ser entrevista nas críticas ao modelo de quotas que o governo brasileiro criou para facilitar o acesso de pessoas pobres ao ensino superior). Num país onde uma professora universitária ridiculariza uma pessoa ‘mal-vestida’ num aeroporto e queixa-se: “onde está o glamour?” comparar o Scielo à uma favela parece um pecado capital. Dito isto, eu devo acrescentar que não concordo com Beall, mas nem por isso deixo de achar ridículas as “mensagens de repúdio”, como se elas fossem mudar algo. Hello, pessoal, Beall não está ao alcance da sanha de vocês, tá? Sigo o blog de Jeffrey Beall há tempos e gosto dele, embora também concorde que listas negras são perigosas, mas acrescento: nas mãos de pessoas sem senso crítico. Qualquer pessoa razoável vai saber o que fazer com informações para não resvalar para o preconceito puro e simples. Também acho que Beall, como todo bom american scholar, tem sua fatia de preconceito contra o que não é americano, o que não o impede de dizer coisas interessantes. Ele sempre deixou claro que é contra o modelo Open Access, então não existe viés nem valoração dupla nesse ponto. Também sei que ele é basicamente ignorante dos motivos históricos para o distanciamento acadêmico entre a américa latina e o que eles chamam de ‘America’. Nisto ele não está sozinho, pois também acho que a maioria dos acadêmicos que se horrorizaram com a palavra ‘favela’ (se ele tivesse colocado gueto, isso teria sido diferente, ask for some advice in the next, Jeffrey) tem o mesmo problema. A favela é o campo do inominado, habitação do ‘homo sacer’ brasileiro. Acusar um professor de plágio seria mesmo sério do que chamar-lhe de ‘favelado’. Mas na verdade, em nossas mentes, somos todos ‘favelados’. Jeffrey Beall errou na sua avaliação do Scielo, em minha opinião, alguém pode concordar com ele, alguém pode concordar comigo. Eu posso estar sendo parcial na minha opinião, assim como acredito que ele tenha sido também, por outros motivos. Mas isso é estranho para justificar o escândalo de um país (ou pelo menos dos paulistas). A não ser que nos lembremos de Glauber Rocha, o cineasta de Terra em Transe, mostrando um pouco do que o brasileiro ‘idealista’ é capaz de fazer. Enquanto isso, algo que se poderia aproveitar do post de Jeffrey Beall foi perdido: nosso próprio etnocentrismo nos isolou academicamente.

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