Internationalization: Towards New Horizons

Internacionalização: Rumo a Novos Horizontes

Anna Carolina Lo Bianco Claudio S. Hutz Maria Emilia Yamamoto About the authors


This article aims to examine the internationalization actions of Brazilian Postgraduate Programs. Data were used from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and the Ministry of Education (MEC), which perform an evaluation of postgraduate courses every three years. Recently, the period was changed to four years. The data reported in the Indicators Booklet of productions of each program, selected according to 8 criteria, allowed the grouping of activities. The comments made on the Evaluation Form were then examined. This showed that internationalization actions are varied and are overwhelmingly present in the Brazilian programs (n = 49). It was verified that the evaluation valorizes production in international publications, often to the detriment of the various actions that effectively contribute to internationalization. It was concluded that, despite publication in international media being a relevant indicator, it does not definitively indicate participation in international knowledge production. The demand, on behalf of students and researchers, for the qualification that is provided in the country would be the most accurate indicator of internationalization. No courses, in the period examined, accommodated non-Portuguese speakers. Despite the efforts already made toward effective internationalization, there remains the important and urgent step: to make the National Postgraduate System a reference point in the international community.

internationalization; National Postgraduate System; academic production; evaluation


Este artigo teve como objetivo examinar as ações de internacionalização dos Programas de Pós-graduação brasileiros. Utilizou dados da Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes), Ministério da Educação (MEC), que trienalmente realiza a Avaliação dos cursos. Recentemente, a avaliação passou a ser quadrienal. Valeu-se dos dados declarados no Caderno de Indicadores de produções de cada Programa, que, selecionados de acordo com 8 critérios, permitiram o agrupamento das atividades. Em seguida, examinou os comentários realizados pela Ficha de Avaliação. Mostrou que ações de internacionalização são variadas e estão maciçamente presentes nos Programas brasileiros (n=49). Observou que a Avaliação privilegia a produção em publicações estrangeiras, quase sempre em detrimento das diversas ações que contribuem efetivamente para a internacionalização. Concluiu que, apesar da publicação em veículos internacionais ser um indicador relevante, não aponta em definitivo para a participação na produção internacional de conhecimento. A procura, por parte de alunos e pesquisadores, pela formação que é dada no país seria o indicador mais preciso de internacionalização. Nenhum curso, no período examinado, ofertava cursos que pudessem ser acompanhados por não falantes do português. Apesar dos esforços já realizados em direção a uma efetiva internacionalização, resta o importante e urgente passo: tornar a pós-graduação nacional um ponto de referência na comunidade internacional.

internacionalização; Sistema Nacional de Pós-graduação; produção acadêmica; avaliação

To consider the internationalization of Psychology in Brazil, as is the case with the internationalization of almost any discipline, is in a certain sense, redundant. Knowledge always came to Brazil from the core countries, the production of which was absorbed by Brazilian psychologists in a process of assimilation that was not always critical or even appropriate to our more immediate and practical interests (Herschmann, 1987; Patto, 2000Patto, M. H. S. (2000). Mutações do cativeiro [The captivity mutations]. São Paulo: Edusp.; Schwarz, 1987Schwarz, R. (1987). Que horas são? [What time is it?]. São Paulo: Cia das Letras. ; Schwarz, 2000Schwarz, R. (2000). Ao vencedor as batatas: Forma literária e processo social nos inícios do romance brasileiro [Potatoes for the winner: Literary form and social process in the Brazilian early novel]. São Paulo: Editora 34/Duas Cidades. ).

Works related to the History of Psychology in Brazil (Antunes, 1955/2004; Jacob-Vilela, Ferreira, & Portugal, 2013Jacó-Vilela, A. M., Ferreira, A. A. L., & Portugal, F. T. (Eds.) (2013). História da psicologia: Rumos e percursos [History of Psychology: Directions and routes]. Rio de Janeiro: NAU.; Jacob-Vilela & Portugal, 2014Jacó-Vilela, A. M., & Portugal, F. T. (Eds.). (2014). Clio-Psyché - Instituições, História, Psicologia [Clio-Psyche - Institutions, History, Psychology]. Rio de Janeiro: Outras Letras. ) show the complex web in which Brazilian Psychology is constituted, the lines of power that, among the medical and pedagogical knowledge, led to the institution of each laboratory or each field of study, up to the formation of the first Psychology university courses in the country. With high frequency, these works refer to a foreign researcher or professional who arrived in Brazil representing thinking coming from other countries, mostly European (Russo, 2002Russo, J. (2002). O mundo psi no Brasil [The world psi in Brazil]. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar.; Duarte, Venâncio, & Russo, 2005Duarte, L. F. D., Russo, J., & Venâncio, A. T. (Eds.). (2005). Psicologização no Brasil: Atores e autores [Psychologizing in Brazil: Actors and authors]. Rio de Janeiro: Contracapa. ; Jacó-Vilela, 2012Jacó-Vilela, A. M. (2012). História da psicologia no Brasil: Uma narrativa por meio de seu ensino [History of Psychology in Brazil: A narrative through his teaching]. Psicologia: Ciência e Profissão, 32, 28-43.).

It is from here that a new research topic or a new investigation procedure was inaugurated among us, which years later we can see were constituents of the characteristics that Brazilian Psychology has today. That is, it is rooted in the appropriation of knowledge that was almost always foreign.

Since the first Horizons for Psychology Seminar, held in Bento Gonçalves in 2008 (see the special issue of Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 2010), we have found a surprising diversity of internationalization actions performed by the Psychology Postgraduate Programs. Since that time, an enormous variety of activities have taken place either in partnership with foreign universities, either addressed to them or derived from them.

Currently, the use of foreign references for what we develop in our quotidian constitutes an essential feature of our university operation. In fact, to cite or to refer to what is done abroad is part of the same structure that constitutes the field of knowledge. Often, it takes what comes from abroad, that is, this relationship with what comes from abroad is preserved. In this sense it can be said that internationalization has always exerted its impact on the Psychology Postgraduate System in the country.

However, it is clear that this scenario has not remained static since its inception. Certainly, the course of the relationship with the production of the programs abroad was in one direction - often towards the importation of knowledge - with a tendency for this relationship to be flexible and have at least some reversal of this effect. At this point it is necessary for us to follow the complexity of the scenario that is offered today so that we can have some access to what we mean when we consider the desirable internationalization of the Psychology Postgraduate System.

There is no doubt that we are primarily facing a globalized context. Thus, we have to start from the phenomenon of globalization which reduces distances, brings together realities and favors communication, which was previously restricted to a local reality that only by chance found the opportunity for diffusion. The reality introduced by the Internet puts us in touch with data produced in different parts of the world, which certainly opens up great possibilities for effective internationalization. However, it is still too early to know the effects of this, which appears as an infinitization of the access to knowledge. In rather prosaic terms, especially in the human sciences, we encounter paradoxical situations in which, for example, the accessibility of texts that address a particular topic has become almost infinite; we have quick access to an almost infinite number of articles from around the globe at a click, even without including those that are outside the institutions that quickly offered to endorse them with a stamp of guarantee of a recognized data base.

The paradox appears here: will we be able to make sufficiently comprehensive literature reviews that really consider all the knowledge that has accumulated on a particular topic? Or will we try to break down the items so that we can circumscribe them, however, at the cost of losing the context in which they become relevant or the articulations that made them pertinent as research objects?

We see with some clarity the end of the era of the researcher-thinker in his office, with his books and his questions, confined by his doubts and by his work. The researcher-thinker who would contribute to university knowledge, who would perform authorial and professorial work, is no longer encountered. This university discourse certainly, as we can already see, no longer finds the same conditions of possibilities that were the previous determinants. However, within this same point, the question still arises: even if communication has become easier and the chances of relationships more palpable, what can we do with them? What position can we take, or what responsibilities do we want to have, regarding what we can do with these chances? That is, as the conditions for internationalization have been provided, what do we want from them, and what path must we take to achieve what objectives? In other words, what role do we envision for Psychology, given the context of globalization and internationalization in which we are immersed? Also, there is space for the questions: Are the graduates of an "internationalized" course different from the graduates of other courses? Does internationalization have an effect on the qualification of doctors? It is in light of these questions that we performed this survey of "internationalization actions" within the Psychology Postgraduate Programs of Brazil. It is from them that we can situate the choice of what we want for knowledge production in Brazil or for the qualification of doctors in Brazil; it is from them that we have to examine what to do with Psychology when we speak of internationalization.

In the previously mentioned Horizons for the Psychology Postgraduate System Seminar, sponsored by ANPEPP (National Association for Research and Postgraduate Studies in Psychology) and CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) (see special issue edited by Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica - PRC/Psychology, 2010ANPEPP (2014) - XV Simpósio de Pesquisa e Intercâmbio Científico da ANPEPP [XV Symposium on Research and Scientific Exchange of ANPEPP]. Retrieved from
), held in 2008 in Bento Gonçalves, we found that at the time all the programs performed actions geared towards internationalization. We believe that, since then, internationalization has effectively become an important issue and is among the key targets not only of the programs but of the Psychology Postgraduate System and the entire National Postgraduate System.

In the debate that raged at that time, which was followed by a publication regarding the surveys that supported the discussion (Lo Bianco, Almeida, Koller, & Paiva, 2010Lo Bianco, A. C., Almeida, S. S., Koller, S. H., & Paiva, V. (2010). A internacionalização dos programas de pós-graduação em psicologia: Perfil e metas de qualificação [Internationalization of postgraduate Programs in Psychology: Profile and qualification goals]. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 23(suppl. 1), 01-10.), it was possible to establish some parameters. It was clear that internationalization is part of the efforts to broaden the horizon of the dialogues of the postgraduate system in the country and to better qualify it. It was shown that internationalization is circumscribed in the undeniable phenomenon of globalization, while simultaneously the need to maintain a critical view regarding its consequences for the operation of Brazilian institutions was indicated. It was concluded at that point, that while development agencies valued more sharply publication in international journals, other international activities related with several subfields in psychology were dropped out.

In general, our examination shows this scenario remains. In May 2014, as part of the XV National Symposium of ANPEPP, also held in Bento Gonçalves (ANPEPP, 2014), a new discussion Forum on Internationalization took place. To guide this debate, questions were formulated and, from the responses given to them, criteria were established for the evaluation of internationalization. The criteria listed below guided the data analysis of a new survey that shows the current panorama of internationalization initiatives of the Psychology Postgraduate System. This article will show that other inflections have followed since the 2008 seminar. It will also show how we are in the process of more definitively installing internationalization into the Brazilian National Postgraduate System. Analysis of these data will lead us to provide some responses to the many questions that have emerged, and will be of further support through our attempt to define what we mean when we refer to internationalization.


Our aims are to survey the internationalization actions of the Postgraduate Programs recognized by CAPES and to examine the comments on the Evaluation Form completed by the Psychology Evaluation Area. These comments pertained to the triennial evaluation of 2013, corresponding to the years 2010-2011-2012 (CAPES, 2013).


Considering the master's and doctorate courses (n = 49), the internationalization actions were analyzed from the Institutional Exchanges item report appearing in the Program Proposals Booklet, available from the Evaluation section of the CAPES site (2013). The results of the programs in the 2010-2012 triennium Evaluation Form were also analyzed.

Criteria for Data Analysis

The criteria used for the analysis consisted of examining the data of two documents supplied by CAPES. First, were the data reported by the programs, listed in the Program Proposals Booklet (CAPES, 2013). This booklet is the result of processing the data sent by the programs to CAPES, in which the information is recorded and organized into sections. We made particular use of the item which reported Institutional Exchange activities. Secondly, were the Evaluation Forms sent to each program, which included the score and final comments on the performance of each program. The Evaluation Form was examined considering the procedures mentioned and valorized by the Evaluation Committee with regard to the statements on internationalization. With these two instruments we proceeded to perform the Data Analysis.

Analysis and Discussion of Data

A - Indicators Booklet

To verify the actions present in the courses examined, eight criteria were adopted, which, in the discussions of the XV Symposium of ANPEPP (ANPEPP, 2014), were considered essential for the effective guidance of internationalization. These criteria do not represent the full range of internationalization, which can be even more varied, but were used instead as sections that, relating to collaboration between Brazilian and foreign researchers and institutions, definitively highlight the presence of the activities mentioned:

Criterion 1 - Researchers coming to the country, visiting the laboratories in order to start collaborations and bilateral agreements and with the prospect of creating an exchange network between professors providing space for the participation of students in international scientific activities.

Of the 49 programs analyzed, the majority (86%) brought visitors from international institutions, almost always a significant number, ranging up to 10 professors or specialists per year. The large majority also brought professors for articulation or were already under bilateral agreements that involved the reception of foreign students; however, above all, the programs sent doctoral students for sandwich programs in partner institutions (we will cover these two topics below). We do not believe it is necessary to mention, nor survey, how many professors and students attended or presented papers in events abroad, since this practice has been institutionalized for a long time in the programs. It is worth mentioning that the visits by foreign professors were not solely related to research exchanges (although this is still an important indicator of internationalization). An example is the program that invited a commission of 4 members (3 from American universities and 1 from a European university) to evaluate its functioning. The internationalization actions related to this question highlight an aspect that has become part of the modus operandi of the examined courses.

Criterion 2 - Sending Brazilian researchers to visit laboratories or participate in research seminars, short courses and conferences abroad.

Regarding this topic, it is interesting to note that some support agencies prioritize the funding of participation in events for those researchers who, when presenting their work, take the opportunity to increase their contact with foreign research while abroad. Of the 49 programs analyzed, many (85%) reported visits by their professors and researchers to universities and research groups outside Brazil. Although, in most cases, the visits still had an exploratory character, that is, they had a view to developing further joint work, in many cases they were performed as part of the protocol that existed, between an extremely wide range of institutions that are not limited to those best known. These agreements sometimes date back more than a decade. The variety of institutions, as shown below, appears to be more in line with the specialties and the sub-areas in which the programs are included. Regarding this item, it noteworthy that few (35%) programs mention the participation of their members in short courses or in conferences, with this item often not being declared (as we will see below in the comments).

Criterion 3 - Participation of postgraduate professors as Visiting Professors in institutions abroad.

There was very little mention of professors who hold positions of Visiting Professors in foreign institutions. Only 6 programs had researchers in programs of universities with which they have agreements, in relation to work of longer duration. Further comments will be made later on the importance of this activity, as it not only indicates recognition of the potential of Brazilian professors, but creates real opportunities for the dissemination and accreditation of a national modus faciendi and, therefore, effective participation in the international arena.

Criterion 4 - Attracting international students to the Programs, for sandwich courses, visits, data collection, or even for the full master/doctorate course, preferentially linked to research in laboratories of Brazilian researchers.

We also have an important indicator of international integration when the Psychology Postgraduate Programs are regularly receiving students from other countries for the courses that will be taught here. No program of the area currently offers regular disciplines or has a course aimed at an international clientele. There is infrequent mention (45%) of foreign students attending the programs, and that students who do come, through the Student-agreement Program of the postgraduate system with funds by CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) are generally from the countries of South and Central America, which has been maintained for a number of decades. The actions related to this issue still appear to be very modest and there was no statement related to an ongoing international course project, with the necessary characteristics, such as offering various disciplines in English, for example.

Criterion 5 - Sending Brazilian students abroad for the same purposes as the previous item.

A completely different panorama is presented when it comes to the experience directed in the opposite direction - sending students abroad. In the 1970s and 1980s, sending students on full doctorate courses was encouraged by the support agencies, and a large number of professors who now make up the Psychology Postgraduate System completed their doctoral studies abroad. In general these professors also performed their post-doctoral training abroad. Later, the national policy was to encourage integral training with the professors and programs that were developed in Brazil and the students started to be sent abroad only for a short stage (from 6 to 12 months) that became known as doctorate-sandwich. Although today performing the full doctorate course abroad is receiving more encouragement than a decade ago, sending students on sandwich stages is an important resource for the internationalization of the programs. It should be noted that many undergraduate students are also studying for one or two semesters in foreign institutions, even without having the support of the Science without Borders Program, which has not been extended to our area.

In the present study, a significant majority of the programs declared that they had sent students of the Postgraduate Programs abroad, most under exchange agreements, which are therefore strengthened by the stay of the students. For example, the visits by foreign co-supervisors was frequently mentioned, to be part of the examination boards of the co-supervisors when the thesis examination was performed in Brazil, which offered opportunities for research meetings and contact of the guest professors with the professors and students of the Brazilian programs.

Criterion 6 - Participation of the Professors of the Postgraduate system in Doctorate Examination Boards and other boards in foreign universities, as well as the co-supervision of doctoral theses (as in joint teaching arrangements already in place in some universities), not only of Brazilian students, but also students of foreign universities.

An important indicator of internationalization should be the effective participation of Brazilian professors in the academic activities of courses and programs abroad. Just as in the case of visiting professors, participation in Examination Boards and co-supervision under a joint teaching regime, as well as the participation of Brazilian professors in activities, such as selection procedures and qualification committees, in foreign countries, are signs of integration and effective recognition of the possibilities of working together. It is also worth mentioning at this point the various advisory and consultancy services which may be provided, e.g., in the development of measurement instruments or similar procedures, which also demonstrate the participation of Brazilian professors at the international level.

In this item, which again reflects the effective presence of professors and Brazilian production in programs abroad, the performance of the programs is still rather low. Only 25% reported effective participation in academic contribution activities for programs and courses located abroad. There is the mention of professors as advisors in foreign programs or as members in examination and selection procedure boards. There is also mention of relevant advisory and consulting services in international organizations, such as the WHO and PAHO. However the number of these occurrences is still small.

Criterion 7 - Organization of traditional international events in Brazil.

This procedure is extremely important because it democratizes the participation of both researchers and students in high-impact events, by reducing the costs of participation. Only two events in this category were reported among the 49 programs. Naturally, large events do not take place very often and, furthermore, in general, the location of events is different every time. However, it is certainly important that the programs host these events more often. In the final considerations this topic will be developed further.

Criterion 8 - Initiatives of the Program as the catalyzing pole of the internationalization process, attracting researchers, professors and students from foreign universities to take part in activities promoted in the country, under the initiative of the Postgraduate Program itself, as well as being effectively present with its professors and students in activities of programs and scientific associations abroad.

This item in a certain way contains the set of activities already detailed in the other criteria and it would be through the presence of all these activities, that we could recognize a program (and evaluate it) as a catalyzing pole that unites and centralizes various activities at all levels. In this sense, there is a constant and high presence, as we have seen so far, of an unprecedented quantity and diversity of internationalization actions. In the history of the Psychology Postgraduate System, however, no program report has yet occupied the position of reference center. None of them are recognized as the centralizing pole, for the sub-area of operation, given the broad spectrum of the international scenario in which psychology knowledge is distributed.

B - Evaluation Form

The Evaluation Form makes 4 mentions of internationalization in the "Summary of Area Criteria" and in the "Results in the Area." as shown below:

  1. "The Program must show planning actions for the medium and long term and effective results in the field of qualification and internationalization of its actions."

  2. "Professor qualification and internationalization activities are present in the form of exchanges with other national and international institutions, as well as in post-doctoral training of the professors".

  3. "Measures for qualification and internationalization of the Program are in progress, highlighting the performance of post-doctoral training of the professors, the visits of researchers from other institutions to carry out their respective of post-doctoral training, and the institutional partnerships primarily focused on international institutions."

  4. In the 2010-2012 triennium, the mean percentage of items published abroad reached 14%, while in the 2007-2009 triennium this was 13.4%. In the 2010-2012 evaluation, 4 programs presented significantly higher rates of internationalization of their production (above 50%), while another 11 advanced and achieved rates higher than the mean percentage of the area (20%).

Despite these 4 mentions made in the Evaluation Form, the comments made by the evaluators, regarding the "Results of the Program" under analysis, are invariably very parsimonious. Approximately 35% of the Forms did not make any comment on the activities or made brief comments, of just one line, about what the program did towards internationalization. There were even two programs, one with 15 and the other with 18 international agreements, in which the Form does not mention these activities at any point. Approximately 50% of the time (often in cases of percentage of production above 14% found in the area), there is only mention of the results obtained in the publication question. This draws attention to the fact that there were no comments on any Form that highlighted activities such as Short Courses, or longer training for visiting professors. Cases were recorded in which programs with actions of exchange and participation in similar foreign programs, received very different evaluations. We will return to this point later.

In relation to the programs with grades 6 and 7, these activities are emphasized in the Form, due to the need to justify the assignment of the grade. In these cases even the names of the guest professors and their institutions are listed.

Final Considerations

With all the resources that we have today, and with all the access to knowledge that is made possible by information technology, there is no guarantee that we can leave the position of avid peripheral importers of the innovations and research questions of the central countries. Relations with international production or what we call the internationalization of the Psychology Postgraduate Programs, therefore, has an orientation and should, from this point: continuously create and affirm the conditions for the production and innovation in the area that reflect the moment in which we are with the knowledge of issues that concern us. This will not be achieved without a position that respects the traditions that formed us, is critical of them, and can make use of them to overcome the challenges.

The ways to achieve this position, or the paths we choose to follow to achieve this goal, is what we have yet to discuss. The data we obtained with this initial survey of some facets of the postgraduate system in our area allow us to make some progress in this discussion.

Primarily, what stands out is the absolutely diverse range of institutions with which we have contact. Although the great majority of these are located in countries in Europe and the Americas, they are not limited to the best known and most traditional universities or research centers. Conventions, agreements or some kind of contact are mentioned in numbers difficult to quantify, given their surprising variety. They are spread throughout not only Western European institutions, but those of the Nordic countries and Eastern Europe, as well as those of African countries. South and Central America are also mentioned countless times as countries with which partnerships are in force, and of course the United States and Canada are mentioned very often when it comes to exchanges with universities abroad.

Although the description of inter-institutional activities varied almost in proportion to the number of institutions, as well as the reports almost always being rather vague regarding these activities (we will return to this point below), it is true that some kind of presence of Brazilian Psychology is felt in these places, by the few researchers who are often involved in the exchanges carried out. One can not deny that this quantity and variety should have some effect when it comes to us taking a position in the international scenario. It is difficult for us to anticipate such effects, however, it may be important to ask ourselves whether they could be valued as an important move needed to, at a later stage, find the most effective means to have this presence valorized. Without doubt, the strategies that are used for the approximation between programs to occur, even being ad hoc, which could not be otherwise, must be one step ahead of the participation and presentation of work at international events abroad. Thus, visits to laboratories or research centers, which are to some extent encouraged by many programs and even by certain funding agencies - which give preference to the funding of attending events when combined with these visits - deserve at least the benefit of the doubt regarding whether or not they are a way to boost the possibilities of international integration and recognition.

Thus, we can say that most of the activities in themselves provide few guarantees that we are moving in a desirable direction - not just because we do not know clearly what internationalization is - but because everything will depend on the position that is taken given the activity mentioned. For example, this happens with the visits of foreign professors and researchers, who flock to the programs. The funded invitation that we make and have always made for foreign professors in our educational institutions is not a novelty for us. Without doubt welcome incentives for the development of many studies have been found in these visits. However, it is clear that they can be the service of a well-behaved obedience to the dictates and the exercise of certain hegemony of thought, not always naturally more desirable.

Different cases would be those of short-term courses or financing provided by the foreign institution to a Brazilian researcher to perform training or give lectures to students and/or professors. However, as we can see, these activities that almost always effectively demonstrate the recognition of the work of the researcher or the Brazilian professor have been reported very little by the programs examined. Similarly, there is little mention of sending professors for longer visits, such as with Visiting Professors, as is common to see happen among the Northern Hemisphere universities. These activities would certainly indicate that Brazilian teaching and research was recognized and, thus, what we really do in the country would be given a place. In the current scenario, as we can see, the number of Visiting Professors is very small and they are not always located in the programs considered internationalized. It is good to remember that there is always a place for some members of the university that stand out for their contributions and will have their work recognized. It is for us, however, to monitor the activities that happen on a scale that encompasses the bulk of our quality production.

In this sense, we can observe that the actions of internationalization, which in fact would be indicative that Brazilian psychology production had found expression on the world stage, are still very modest. This is the case regardless of the grade that the program has received. Few reported short-term courses given by our professors abroad, invitations or financing from foreign institutions or even presentations in international events, with only a few reports of sending Visiting Professors to Programs or Research Centers abroad. Similarly co-supervision, joint teaching, and participation in examination and selection procedure boards abroad were hardly reported and almost no collaboration in teaching activities was reported. Finally - perhaps the most crucial fact - the spontaneous demand from students from other countries is quite insignificant (with the exception with those supported by Brazilian governamental funds that are already traditional and directed towards the South American countries) and receiving students for stays of short duration almost never happens. In fact, this last topic most likely provides us with a definitive indicator of where we stand regarding the international recognition of Brazilian production. This fact is accompanied by another that similarly highlights the same question: virtually no program offers disciplines that could be followed by students who do not speak Portuguese (or do not have the facility to learn it, as is the case of those who speak Spanish). The offer of courses with various disciplines in English, along the lines that we see happening in European and Scandinavian countries (such as France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland) still seems to be far from a reality in the Brazilian Psychology Postgraduate System.

It is from the perspective of these data that we can now approach the discussion of the Evaluation Form. The question once again arises, with regard to the criteria adopted in the area, by the organization that sets the guidelines for the operation of programs: what has been considered relevant for the considerations regarding internationalization?

In general, we take as given that the internationalization actions should be expressed or crowned, so to speak, by publication in international media. We qualify this by questioning whether publication in certain fee-based international journals that review in quick turnaround (a few weeks' time) is truly an expression of a program's movement towards internationalization.

The valorization of international publication is equal to 40% of the total weight of the other international actions. However, in fact, what we see happening is that the other 60% will only be valorized, and in cases of the Evaluation Form even mentioned, if they ascertained good indices of publication abroad. As noted in the data analysis, in 35% of cases the Forms tend to disregard the internationalization actions. In 50% of them only the published production was mentioned. This is indeed the reason why many of the actions may be under-reported. This hypothesis can not be ruled out, especially in the case of programs that know their production in publications is high.

It is important to emphasize here that, with regard to this specific question, the programs recognized as internationalized differ very little from the programs evaluated as not internationalized (sometimes they even have a much smaller number of effective actions than some programs evaluated as not internationalized). Similarly, attention should be drawn to the fact that there are programs ranked grade 5 with very little internationalization activity and others, with the same grade, in which participation of the professors in the operation of partner programs abroad has been effectively productive for a long time.

We can not fail to consider the always-mentioned, diversity of the psychology area. There are the sub-areas in which the amount of publication in periodicals, either national or international, is traditional and comparatively lower. It should be noted that the international counterparts of the sub-areas in our country that have a slightly lower publication index, often present a similar profile of lower production in periodicals. However, what is interesting to highlight is that the sub-areas evaluated as internationalized in psychology are almost "naturally" those aligning with the hard sciences, while those aligning more with the humanities tend to have their international integration undervalued. As a result, the former are evaluated as internationalized when effectively the internationalization is often limited to the production published in international journals. Without doubt, the publication in international journals is important and, in some sub-areas, essential for the integration of a program into this level, however, as we have tried to highlight, effective internationalization requires more than this. Often, written production cannot be a reliable index of internationalization. This is especially true if we consider that the area as a whole is still struggling, as shown above, to be a "catalyzing pole" of the internationalization process. Motivating foreign researchers, professors and students to participate in activities in Brazil is still sought through the initiative of each program.

There are questions that should be asked in this case. With them we can finish this article, which, we know, still leaves many issues for discussion. Why not valorize, in addition to international publication, other initiatives in which Brazilian professors and students are shown to have an effective presence and positive impact on the foreign programs? Or, why not encourage the Programs of the Area to pursue and establish more comprehensive internationalization actions, such as the previously mentioned demand for our courses and offering them to the public of the countries with whom we have contact?


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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection


  • Received
    12 Jan 2015
  • Reviewed
    05 Mar 2015
  • Accepted
    10 Apr 2015
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