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Piracy of scientific papers in Latin America: An analysis of Sci-Hub usage data

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In the new issue of Developing Latin America: ‘Piracy of scientific papers in Latin America: An analysis of Sci-Hub usage data’, co-written with dear colleagues Alejandro Uribe-Tirado and María Elena Romero-Ortiz, we present Sci-Hub’s characteristics, a criticism to its perception as a de-facto component of the Open Access movement, its implications for information professionals, universities and libraries, and we replicate an analysis published in Science, but using only Latin America usage data. Ever wondered how many papers are illegally downloaded from Sci-Hub in the region? Find also the answer of how illegal downloads compare to legal downloads done through the Mexican and Argentinian scientific information consortia.

Acknowledgements: we wish to thank the InfoTecarios group for informing about regional challenges, specifically the help of Saúl Equihua, Myrna Lee and Renny Granda; and comments received from Dominique Babini, Paola Azrilevich, Alejandra Méndez, Luis Rojas, Nitida Carranza, Sonia Amaya, and Dr. Elsi Jiménez.


Abstract: Sci-Hub hosts pirated copies of 51 million scientific papers from commercial publishers. This article presents the site’s characteristics, it criticizes that it might be perceived as a de-facto component of the Open Access movement, it replicates an analysis published in Science using its available usage data, but limiting it to Latin America, and presents implications caused by this site for information professionals, universities and libraries.

Full text at Sage Publishing

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J.D., Uribe-Tirado, A., and Romero-Ortiz, M. E. (2016). Piracy of scientific papers in Latin America: An analysis of Sci-Hub usage data. Information Development, 32(5), 1806–1814. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666916671080

Four theories to improve justice in Latin America

In the new issue of Developing Latin America: ‘Four theories to improve justice in the region’, co-written with my good friend, the lawyer Basilio A. Martínez-Villa, we provide a very brief introduction to the theories of justice of John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Jürgen Habermas and Amartya Sen, as they bring forward the requirement for developing indicators with a wider scope, and we summarize relevant aspects of justice that can enrich the needed reflection and discussion for new Latin American models of justice.


Abstract: The theories of justice according to Rawls, Dworkin, Habermas and Sen, although from a predominantly Anglo-Saxon background, are useful for the Latin American reality. Such views of justice bring forward the requirement for developing indicators with a wider scope, so that they measure diverse aspects such as: income, commodities, freedoms, economic, cultural, educative, political and well-being factors. Concluding remarks summarize relevant aspects of justice that can enrich the needed reflection and discussion for new Latin American models of justice.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open access version

Recommended reference: Martinez-Villa, B. A. and Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2016). Four theories to improve justice in the region. Information Development, 32(4), 1284–1288. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666916658588

The most “perfect” voting system in the world

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In the new issue of Developing Latin America, I present the most common criticisms to e-voting systems, focusing on the Venezuelan case, with 15 elections during the last 17 years. This is the so-called most “perfect” voting system in the world. But it has been widely questioned, studied and contested.


Abstract: Elections are indispensable for democracy, but their trustworthiness demands transparency and impartiality from governments, even more so for automated elections. This work presents common criticisms to e-voting systems, focusing on the Venezuelan case, where there have been around 15 elections of this kind in the last 17 years. The Venezuelan government calls it the most perfect voting system in the world, but its results have been questioned, studied and contested.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open access version

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2015). The most “perfect” voting system in the world. Information Development, 32(3), 751-755. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666916647140

From Caracas to Lyon: A road toward sustainable development?

UntitledFurther expanding on topics around public libraries (and as a sister issue to a previous column), together with Renny Granda we ask if the Caracas Declaration for the Public Library (1982) and the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development (2014) can allow us to follow a path toward sustainable development from our libraries.


Abstract: We offer elements and reflections to tackle from Latin American societies and public libraries for moving toward sustainable development. From the Caracas Declaration for the Public Library to the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development, there has been a clear and constant plea to the development of Latin America, assuming the value information has for progress and focusing on the access to information, literacy, education and culture as human rights.

Full text at Sage Publishing

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Granda, R. and Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2015). From Caracas to Lyon: A road toward sustainable development? Information Development, 32(2), 216-218. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666915626830

See also the previous sister column: Granda, R. and Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2015). Regional consensus gave birth to the modern public library. Information Development, 31(3), 314-316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666915577166

Scientific production in Mexican universities: Rates and expectations toward competitiveness

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Together with Javier Tarango, we analyze issues of scientific production in Mexican universities.


Abstract: This article analyzes emerging issues that Mexican universities are experiencing with scientific production processes, their impact on assessment indicators that determine their level of competitiveness, and the identification of assessment dimensions and criteria related to the activities of professors and researchers. Examples of previous research on universities’ competitiveness are offered to provide suggestions for recognizing the need for legitimized models that allow assessing scientific production in Mexican universities.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Tarango, J. and Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2016). Scientific production in Mexican universities: Rates and expectations toward competitiveness. Information Development, 32(1), 107-111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666915613730

Latin American science is meant to be open access: Initiatives and current challenges

Together with Dominique Babini, we summarize the rise of open access in the region and its main initiatives.


Abstract: Latin American open access (OA) initiatives were built upon the foundations laid by the regional cooperative information networks, databases and indexes that started to be developed from the 1970s. OA had an early start in the region in the 1990s, because it preceded the first worldwide OA declaration. This article summarizes the reasons behind the emergence of OA in the region, offers details and data about the most relevant initiatives and discusses some of the current challenges to keep advancing in this arena.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version (Coming soon!)

Recommended reference: Babini, D. and Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2015). Latin American science is meant to be open access: Initiatives and current challenges. Information Development, 31(5), 477-481. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666915601420

From the ashes

From the ashes

523 years ago, one of the major cultural crimes in the history of humanity happened: slaughter, imposition of ideologies and dogmas, apart from a systematic cultural annihilation; all this meant the alteration of the independent development and of the future of the autochthonous Latin American cultures. Current Latin American civilization emerged from this event: From the ashes…


Abstract: About 523 years ago, the territory now known as the Americas was ‘discovered’. This event detonated the conquest and colonization of this ‘new world’, processes that altered the historical development of the indigenous civilizations. This work examines one of the most disheartening consequences of this clash of civilizations: the almost total destruction of the indigenous people’s cultural heritage. This annihilation was driven by the implementation of colonial domination, which implied the establishment of a new socio-political order and systematic and forced religious conversion, which included the destruction of the pictographic codices that were seen as ‘works of the devil’.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version (Coming soon!)

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2015). From the ashes. Information Development, 31(4), 383-386. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666915591759

Regional consensus gave birth to the modern public library

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Third issue of the column Developing Latin America: article about the Caracas Declaration (1982) for public libraries, written together with my dear colleague Renny Granda. This issue of Developing Latin America deals with the Caracas Declaration as a historical milestone, stressing its importance and its vindicationas a factor of development and social change in Latin America.


Abstract: In 1982, library experts from 30 Latin American and the Caribbean countries met in Venezuela to discuss the current state and development strategies for the region’s public libraries. The result was the first technical-normative document for public libraries in the region, commonly known as the Caracas Declaration. This issue of Developing Latin America comments on the contents of this document, its influence and importance, and suggests the exercise of invoking and reviewing its principles and objectives to once again analyze the current state and project new development strategies.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Granda, R. and Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2015). Regional consensus gave birth to the modern public library. Information Development, 31(3), 314-316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666915577166

The arrival of information literacy

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Jesus Lau and I just published an article where we remember and explore how did information literacy (infolit) get in the Latin American region. You may find it in the second issue of Developing Latin America, available in the journal Information Development, published by Sage. The most important elements in this article are two tables, one of them ranks Latin American countries by their academic production regarding infolit (with data gathered from the AlfinIberoamérica wiki) and the other table highlights the eight infolit declarations that have been made in the region, their date, place and the name of the event or declaration.


Abstract: Paul Zurkowski coined the term Information Literacy in 1974, since then it has evolved into a dynamic research area within library and information science, with many milestones achieved in Europe and the United States, reflected in English-written literature. This issue of Developing Latin America traces an alternative route, exploring the arrival of information literacy to the region and its main developments.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. and Lau, J. (2015). The arrival of information literacy. Information Development, 31(2), 190-193. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666915569147

Is information enough to save the region?

Is information enough to save the region?

On the past issue of Information Development (IDV) (Published November 2014), we had to part ways with and wish our best to our fellow Editorial Advisory Board Member (EABM) Archie Dick and his column African Information Initiatives. Some months ago, IDV Editor asked EABM for ideas on a new regular column. For me, the prospect of being in charge of a new column was very attractive from the beginning and I had a clear idea to propose: if we had a column about Africa, then the most logical choice is to continue with a column about Latin America (LA). Before making my suggestion, I knew that writing a column for every IDV issue involves a huge challenge: have the discipline of writing something interesting while keeping up with the journal’s deadlines. However, it could be a very important achievement as the proposed column’s debut would coincide with IDV’s 30th anniversary. Moreover, it is an outstanding opportunity for me as a scholar, in order to be able share some thoughts and concerns in the personal and pleasing, but didactic format of an ongoing opinion column. Furthermore, this gives me the chance to deepen my own understanding about some topics that are strategic to the region before writing the lines you will read on the next issues. Hence, Developing Latin America was my proposal, which was accepted and encouraged by our Editor and my fellow EABM, for which I am very thankful.

The final running title was almost a last minute decision. When I was rushing to get this first column written I only had a handful of obvious and bland titles. Although this final title is very simple, the intention is for it to be somehow provocative. LA is a region with many issues and challenges and sadly it does not feature as prominently as many of us would like in academic journals such as the present; there are neither many articles written by Latin American authors, nor many articles written about the region (at least in the Library and Information Science field). Moreover, in most of the cases that the region is mentioned in scholarly communications it is done tangentially. Furthermore, there is not much published about information initiatives and milestones in LA, when we compare it to other regions, and this issue is not exclusive to IDV. A prominent problem is to blame: the language barrier for information professionals to be able to write in English journals when the languages of the region are mostly Spanish, Portuguese, French, all the indigenous languages, and English is spoken as a main language a very small proportion of LA countries. For all the above, I am using in the title of the column series form of the verb ‘developing’, as this means: a reminder that the region is and has to be developed, this is a work-in-progress, the aim is to work toward its development, try our best to advance with the region, and most importantly, communicate regional achievements in journals such as IDV. I should dedicate some lines to the other part of the column’s title “Latin America”, because this is not a totally clear distinction, although we are using it for the sake of practicality. Unless stated otherwise, when I mention LA, I will mean all Latin American countries including Caribbean countries, from Mexico to Argentina, including nations along the Caribbean Sea and those of Central America.

I was keen on the idea of writing this introduction to the column, because I also took the opportunity to review the articles about LA (and from LA authors) that have been published in these 30 years of IDV, thus tracing the representation of the region in IDV and providing some insights and an interesting basis for discussing and updating on some issues that have already been posted in IDV. All the above and much more is available in this first issue of Developing Latin America, which starts with the question: is information enough to save the region?


Abstract: Latin America does not exist. These 42 diverse and developing countries are hardly a union. However, they share geographical proximity, history, strangely unique elements, and the wish to progress. This first issue of a new column, ‘Developing Latin America’, explores some information issues, literacy rates, regional prominence in scholarly publications, and relevant topics taken from Information Development’s publication history.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version

Recommended reference: Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2015). Is information enough to save the region? Information Development, 31(1), 89-91. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266666914560328

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