Report on Open access panel at LASA, April 2017

#262 // LST – Workshop

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 2:00pm – 3:45pm, PUC, Lima, Peru



Sara Castro-Klarén, Johns Hopkins University

Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante, University of Texas/Austin


15-20 people attended this LASA panel, with a significant presence of librarians as well as colleagues and graduate students, mainly from Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States.

Presentations by Panelists

Professor Sara Castro-Klarén highlighted the importance of applying scholarly principles to review and select articles for publication. In this regard, open access offers the benefit of worldwide circulation. However, this poses a key issue: What do the new generations of readers “access” to read? Regarding this issue, it is of utmost importance to use appropriate academic standards to ensure the quality of what becomes published.

Professor Castro-Klarén also emphasized the role of the state and public universities in Latin America in enabling scholarly publications to circulate widely and openly. This is an important difference between Latin America and US academic culture. In this context, for LALR, the question of who pays for the long-term development of all the tasks and needs involved in producing and archiving a scholarly open-access journal remains a paramount issue and a challenge for us.

Professor Cárcamo-Huechante highlighted the agreements of the international academic community in consolidating the idea of knowledge resulting from research as a “public good” (Budapest Open Access Initiative, 2002). In this sense, the challenge of making our publications open to independent researchers and readers outside the conventional academic institutions is a valuable humanistic and civic service. Moreover, open access has become an administrative complication for USA-based journals due to the economics of scholarly publications and circulation in the American academe (i.e., contractual issues with agencies like JSTOR or others); against that, in Latin America there has been a significant history of open-access journals thanks to the long-term institutional support from universities to sponsor open-access publications.

As a corollary of this dialogue, both panelists coincided in the challenge to couple academic excellence and open access in our specific endeavors within LALR.

Views and Feedback from the Audience

Librarians participated actively in the discussion during the Q&A period. We got some interesting feedback,

  1. Many participants conveyed their enthusiasm about the transition of LALR towards becoming an open-access journal.
  2. The importance to get institutional support in order to financially ensure the continuity of the journal as an open-access publication across years. Perhaps it will be important to follow the example of Latin American experiences, in which universities provide long-term support for and house journals. Institutional support from a university or entity—such as LASA—will guarantee the continuity of the open-access publication.
  3. The journal should also have an open-access digital archive. The appropriate archiving of the information—the articles and contents of each journal issue—was also highlighted as a key challenge for an online publication.

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