Latin America evaluates structural equity and inclusion in Open Access to Scholarly Publications

UNESCO and several partner institutions celebrated International Open Access Week on 23 October 2020 by organizing a virtual meeting on the state of structural equity and inclusion in Open Access publications with 392 participants from 28 countries.
The International Open Access Week is an annual scholarly communication event on Open Access issues. It is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in advancing open access, and an occasion to strengthen multi-stakeholder processes and plan strategies for the future. This year’s Open Access Week was organized by UNESCO in partnership with the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, and research institutions Redalyc, AmeliCA, CLACSO and DORA.

Opening the webinar, Deputy Director General of UNESCO, Mr. Xing Qu, noted the need for Open Access to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that “in our fight against the pandemic has shown, open access to scientific information is essential … By sharing data, protocols and the results of research, we can save lives, respond to crises in the post-COVID era”.

Dr. Arianna Becerril García spoke on behalf of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico and Redalyc/ AmeliCA and highlighted the need for non-commercial Open Access to improve structural equity. Dr. Dominique Babini, representing CLACSO, pointed to how the increasing cost of publication was precluding researchers from the knowledge pool.

Dr. Fernanda Beigel, Chair of the Open Science Recommendation panel, provided a brief account on UNESCO Open Science Recommendation process. On behalf of DORA, Dr. Anna Hatch highlighted the importance of revisiting how research is being evaluated.

The opening session was followed by a keynote address by Dr. Eduardo Aguado-López, General Director of Redalyc and researcher at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. He highlighted the importance of academia in driving and sustain Open Science.

He cautioned about burgeoning commercial interest on Open Science and noted knowledge-vulnerability of developing countries. He further called for an urgent reflection to support non-commercial infrastructure for Open Access.

A panel discussion concluded that the non-commercial Open Access Workflow is by far superior to article processing charges in order to achieve equity and foster inclusion.

The panel also noted the need to revise the research assessment policies within universities, recognizing that the impact of these policies on the participatory scientific communication ecosystem is critical.

Composed of María Alejandra Tejada (PUJ-Colombia), André Luiz Appel (IBCT-Brasil), Humberto Julio Debat (INTA-Argentina) and Eurico Wongo Gungula (Universidade Óscar Rivas – Angola), the panel lauded efforts taken by institutions in Latin America to strengthen scholarly communication systems and promotion of South – South cooperation modalities with Africa.

The webinar also launched a call for participation in the 2020 Latin American Essay Contest on Open Access, which will be jointly administered by the webinar partners. The competition is launched as a modality to collect views of the academia about the changing landscape of Open Access research. It is open until 12 November 2020 to young researchers from Latin America.

UNESCO advocates for Maintaining, increasing and diffusing knowledge by encouraging cooperation among the nations in all branches of intellectual activities[1]”. In this process, UNESCO has been working with academia as one of the key partners to make scholarship open and ‘inclusive, by democratizing scientific knowledge and other scholarly processes. UNESCO recognizes Open Access as one of the key modalities for opening science and knowledge societies.

For more information on the event, please read

Information about the 2020 Latin American Essay Contest on Open Access can be found here: