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Print version ISSN 0103-5053
On-line version ISSN 1678-4790
J. Braz. Chem. Soc. vol.15 no.2 São Paulo Mar./Apr. 2004
Angelo C. Pinto; Jailson B. de Andrade
At the fingertips of publishers of Brazilian as well as other Latin American scientific periodicals is the article The Lost Science in the Third World, Scientific American 1995, 273, pp. 76-83, by W. W. Gibbs. In this article, Gibbs pin-points the major reasons why Third World publishers do not manage to maintain the periodicity of their publications and, thus, are removed from indexing services of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), on the rare occasions that indexing has occurred. Among the many reasons for this, two stand out:
1 - Preference on the authors' part for publishing their articles in First World periodicals, as they are thus motivated to do so by the various funding organs for scientific research within their own countries.
2 - Lack of regular financing to maintain these periodicals.
The barrier of periodicity has long since been overcome by the Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society. It is no longer the Achilles' Heel of the JBCS, which is held in ever increasing esteem by the Brazilian Chemistry community. Funding resources from the CNPq and FAPESP, while limited, have heretofore been sufficient for the publication of this periodical.
Another obstacle which the JBCS has overcome is the impact factor. Without citing the weight of this indicator, even though CAPES has used it to evaluate and analyze post-graduate programs, the JBCS 's impact factor is the greatest of all Latin America's scientific periodicals.
Now, the sword of Damocles over the Brazilian publishers' heads is the funding agencies and the possibility that they will no longer support the printed publications, as they have so far, under the allegation that electronic titles ally greater agility to cost reduction in terms of paper, printing and distribution. It is true that it is no longer permissible that scientific publications continue to be the great commercial enterprise that the large publishing houses have used them for. On the other hand, neither are alternative ideas such as that put forth by Public Library Science (PLoS), http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org, which can be read free of charge, while the authors must pay USD$ 1,500 for each article published.
Although the idea of abolishing printed publications seems quite seductive to countries such as Brazil which has its own free portal, SciELO, http://www.scielo.br maintained by Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, FAPESP, it is still too soon to give up on a printed publication such as the JBCS which offers free access on the internet through the SciELO portal and the homepage http://jbcs.sbq.org.br thus making it exclusively electronic. Even while this may come to pass, now is certainly not the right moment and until this moment comes, someone must stand the cost of printing this publication.
In view of these facts, the JBCS publishers have called upon the Brazilian Chemistry community to gradually assume co-responsibility for publication of the JBCS. One possible way for this to come about is by page charge for the periodical, such as occurs with certain periodicals published by the American Chemical Society. The first great step to facilitate page charge has already been taken by agencies as FAPESP instituting grants allowing researchers to pay for their publications, and by the CNPq, which introduced fees for their post-graduate fellowship holders as well as a special grant for productivity level 1 fellowship holders. Freedom to spend the CNPq resources allows that any researcher or post-graduate student may contribute financially for the publication of their articles.
The JBCS publishers reaffirm, however, that this periodical is not tied to any publication fee or payment, but to the quality and relevance of the articles submitted. Page charge is not obligatory.