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Open Access: SciELO SA

OPEN ACCESS: SCIELO SA

The work published in local journals must become more visible through search engines and bibliometric tools. An open-source software-based system called Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) which has been in development since 1998 with government support in Brazil, has two major aims:

  • Firstly to index high-quality journals, extending beyond the ISI-indexed titles, through a selection based on transparent assessment and performance monitoring; and
  • Secondly to provide free worldwide electronic access to the content of these journals. 

This system has already revealed the existence of local journals and articles that are highly cited in ISI-indexed journals; it has also revealed journals and articles that have a high impact within the SciELO system itself.

The SciELO system was extended to South Africa in 2009, with support from the Department of Science and Technology. Extension to other African countries and regions is readily possible with the appropriate program leadership and government support at national and international levels. (Wieland Gevers, 2009

Why go Open Access?

Open Access publishing allows research literature comprising academic peer-reviewed journals, conference papers and theses to be placed in an online portal from which they can be downloaded for use.

It is important to realise that Open Access by no means equates to ‘self-publishing’ – all articles conform to the traditional process of journal publishing, entailing critical reading by several peer-reviewers who ensure that a rigorous standard of research is upheld. Open Access publishing merely makes these research results available and affordable to a wider audience.

Click here for a chronology of Open Access

SciELO brochure

Scholarly Publishing Staff

  • Director 
  • Systems and Database Manager
  • Metadata Librarian
  • Project Officer

See ASSAf Staff List

SciELO South Africa 

A pilot site for the SciELO SA, initially on the SciELO Brazil site was established and has been live since 1 June 2009. In April 2012 the SciELO SA team started hosting the site independently.

 Journals Uploaded to SciELO SA  

The  South African Journal of Science,  published by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), was the first prestigious, peer-reviewed journal to be fully Open Access on the SciELO platform.

The scholarly journals on the SciELO SA platform so far are:

Selection and Quality Control of Journal Titles

Journals selected to be part of SciELO South Africa must first go through a rigorous process of quality appraisal in which journal accreditation by the Department of Higher Education and Training is considered, along with IBSS and ISI rankings and peer-reviewing processes. This will ensure that the most reliable, credible and innovative research by South Africa’s top researchers will be available in full to any person with internet access and the desire to learn, at no cost. Actual usage by scholars and scientists is monitored by the indexing system in various ways, including journal impact factors, and article citation and download statistics.

The Future

As at September 2012 there are 22 journals on the platform, with more titles in process, 251 issues and 4 023 articles. A map of SciELO South Africa usage created with Google Analytics, for example shows 51 189 site visits, i.e. an average of 1 651 visits per day from 1 August  to 31 August 2012.

It is foreseen that eventually, after the evaluation of the ASSAf Peer Review Panels, more than 200 South African Scholarly journals will be published on the platform.

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