ScienceOpen helps to put scientific research in a global context with more than 15 million article records

In a fairly big release today, we are pleased to announce a big new partnership with SciELO, the Scientific Electronic Library Online. Many of you might know SciELO as the leading Open Access publisher in Latin America and what we might consider to be developing or emerging countries. At last count, they had published almost600,000 peer reviewed research articles in more than 1200 journals, so constitute an enormous contribution to our global research knowledge!

Typically, SciELO content is still largely excluded from what we might consider the ‘research powerhouses’ and “global” indexing platforms of the western world. In 2013, SciELO was integrated into the Web of Science, but only covered around half of their journals. Some SciELO Brazil content is also indexed in Scopus, but this is a pay-to-access service.

As such, simply being Open Access is not sufficient in the current scholarly publishing climate – you have to be promoted, shared, and recognised too! This is crucial for publishers in terms of generating increased visibility, transparency, and credibility for research, all principles embodied by Open Access. So ScienceOpen is partnering with SciELO to generate increased visibility for its content, and to provide an enhanced global perspective on research.

Some might be wondering where you’ve heard of SciELO before. Well, Open Access advocate and keeper of predatory publishing lists Jeffrey Beall publicly commented last year that SciELO was akin to the ‘favelas’ of the scholarly publishing world, and created a bit of a stir. Thankfully, this derogatory and unnecessary characterisation was met with appropriate responses, but revealed a somewhat ingrained cultural perspective that some ‘western’ academics, and those involved in scholarly publishing, might still have: research and publishing from Latin America and peripheral countries is of lower quality than the north, for no apparent reason than geography; a factor which is often referred to as ‘ethnocentric prejudice’.


Well, at ScienceOpen we think such views are not helpful in creating a more global, collaborative and open research foundation. We believe that through integration we are stronger, and that we gain more by transcending barriers than creating them. The future of research is through global collaboration, sharing, and enabling open practices, and this is what we’re doing with SciELO. Indeed, SciELO are arguably doing more to advance Open Access publishing and global knowledge than many well-established publishers in Europe and North America!

Which is why partnering with SciELO is exciting for us for many reasons!

Building a global research network

All SciELO is Open Access by default already, largely thanks to relatively low costs and external funding. SciELO was initially supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), along with the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME).

With the total inclusion of SciELO, ScienceOpen will contain more than 2.2 million open access research articles, drawn primarily from PubMedCentral and the arXiv. This means that all this content is freely available to anyone, and also equally as important for re-use. We want people not just to be able to access content, but weave their creative magic and do what research was designed for: to be built upon.

CEO of ScienceOpen Stephanie Dawson says, “This makes ScienceOpen one of the first platforms to recognize the importance of integrating research from across Latin America. By doing so, together we will help to create the strongest possible foundations for the future of research around the world.”

This is important as it places research in what we like to think of as a global context. On our platform, you’ll now be able to search, discover, and re-use content from a range of global sources. Open Science isn’t just about access to knowledge, but also principles of equality, and to achieve that we have to recognize the value of research from around the world.

How will we develop SciELO content?

At ScienceOpen, we use these core Open Access articles to create article metadata records using the citation information contained within. Using our ‘aggregation engine’, we will have generated now more than 15 million article metadata records, which will rise as we integrate more content from SciELO. This is a slow process, and we are only able to incorporate a few thousand articles at a time, so stay tuned as we add more and more knowledge and data!

We’ve created new featured collections for SciELO articles, divided up by each country involved in the partnership. As well as this, we’ve built new specialized discipline specific collections for important fields such as public health and social sciences. With the typical SciELO portal, you can already search by country. What we’re doing is providing an extra layer of functionality, as now you can create collections of your favourites, and also open them up to managed post-publication peer review! You’ll be able to search all SciELO content, and subsets, by their citations, keywords, altmetric score, and a whole host of additional discovery and filter options.

What this means is that all SciELO articles will be available for public post-publication peer review, alongside all other articles on our platform. Articles can be integrated into new or existing collections, as well as the usual functions for sharing, and recommending and commenting.

Tibor Tscheke, Co-founder of ScienceOpen says, “By partnering with SciELO we are helping to achieve our joint aims of maximizing the dissemination and re-use of research in a format that is suitable for the digital age.”

Along with all other on the ScienceOpen platform also the new content from SciELO will show usage data provided by Altmetric to show users how the articles has been discussed, mentioned or shared in online sources including mainstream news outlets, blogs, and a variety of social networks. These data can be used to sort, and filter articles to find relevant research and enhance research discoverability.

Titles and abstracts will also be available in both Portuguese and English depending on the source journals, which is important for helping to increase the accessibility of articles.

This is a big step forward for us at ScienceOpen, and we look forward to engaging more with researchers and publishers from around the world in helping to make science more open, more valuable, and more contextual. Let us know what you think in the comments!