Reaching Out with Open Access – A new era for Latin American Studies in the Nordic Region

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As of October the Iberoamericana – Nordic Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies is published openly online, replacing its print edition since 1977 with a more accessible format. The Institute of Latin American Studies at Stockholm University covers the publication costs. The journal’s Editor-in-Chief Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano wants to offer a re-invented platform to reach the most qualified authors.

We want the journal to be as attractive as possible to researchers, and they want Open Access. Obviously they want to be read as much as possible, and we want to help them achieve that’, says Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano, Director of the institute and Editor-in-Chief.

Iberoamericana started as an information bulletin for library publications in 1961, but was converted into an academic journal in 1977. In recent years, however, the number of authors who want to publish has diminished, because researchers prioritise journals that are more accessible.

‘In the past you had to buy our journal to read it, but there were few who did. Our journal was not properly indexed in the databases where researchers looked to find new work by colleagues. The distribution was instead handled through exchanging journals with other universities. But since there were only a limited number of universities and libraries that we could swap with, our articles were not available for most of our intended audience. From now on anyone, anywhere, can go to iberoamericana.se and read everything we publish.’

Open Access Publishing Without Author Charges

By increasing the opportunities to reach the readers, the Iberoamericana Editors hope to achieve a higher inflow of manuscripts for evaluation. It will not only be possible to read Iberoamericana for free, but also to publish academic work without author-facing charges. This is one of the big advantages in comparison with Open Access journals where there are charges to cover the Publishers’ service fees. The Institute of Latin American studies will cover the article processing charges for up to 10 articles per year.

‘In this way we provide the possibility to publish research from all over the world within the social sciences discipline that have a Latin American focus. We have also applied for funding to digitise all the material we have published since 1977, to make this knowledge archive more accessible as well. We have already managed to upload all the articles published since 2008 on our website’, says Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano.

Renewing the Nordic Perspective

The journal was founded through an initiative from the Nordic Council of Ministers, but has in practice been run by researchers at Stockholm University since the very start in 1961. The reinvigorated Editorial Team of the journal will however include Editors from both Norway and Finland to continue the tradition and the Nordic attachment. The Editorial Board also includes researchers from Norway, Denmark, Finland as well as other universities in Sweden to ensure that several perspectives can be covered.

‘Everyone involved is very positive, because we are developing one of the most important journals of Latin American research in northern Europe. In addition, we have created an efficient infrastructure and organisation to run this project together’, says Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano.

He says that it is has been easy to get researchers on-board to be involved in the editorial work, and they are eager support the project with open access as a means to reach out with the Nordic Latin American research to the world.

However, Iberoamericana also want to reach readers outside the Nordic region, and therefore hopes to attract submissions from collaborators all over the world. Latin American Studies research is a strong field of research in Europe and the US, but also a growing discipline in countries like China where a lot of trade with Latin American countries is going on.

‘In the end, the scientific quality of the published material is the most essential thing for the journal, so it is important that we have contact with as many great researchers as possible. If we have that, then this new venue for collaboration and exchange of knowledge will market itself as we now offer the practical tools needed to reach the entire world’, says Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano.


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