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Subordinated Complacency, Ferocious Rivalry, or Equitable Work: On the Independence and Separation of State Powers



Now in #OpenAccess, 2017’s ‘On the Independence and Separation of State Powers’, written with Basilio A. Martínez-Villa. Original English version: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3466595

Abstract: This article presents three deviations from the Separation of Powers Principle (trias politica) as they have taken place in Mexico and Venezuela: the increment in the amount of state powers, the subordination of powers to the agenda of a unique political tendency with the subsequent nullification of the power that is acting in an independent way, and the creation of constitutional autonomous institutes or entities. It suggests that governments can become complex self-referential systems that avoid public consultation of political decisions and the free formation of citizens’ informed and educated opinions that are much needed for a country’s development in a democracy.

Full text at Sage Publications

Open Access version

Suggested citation: Machin-Mastromatteo, J.D., & Martinez-Villa, B.A. (2017). Subordinated complacency, ferocious rivalry, or equitable work: On the independence and separation of State powers, Information Development, 33(2), 210-218. https://doi.org/10.1177/0266666916688296

Scientific production in Mexican universities: Rates and expectations toward competitiveness


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

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

International Colloquium on Alternative Models of Learning and Access


On September 19, 2013, CETYS Universidad hosted the International Colloquium ‘Higher Education: Alternative Models of Learning and Access’ and I had the opportunity of moderating its second panel ‘How to successfully swim in learning new schemes Info – skills, MOOCs, ICT and other technologies’. I dedicated some words of introduction to this interesting topic from my perspective as a librarian and as an academic and I also presented the panel’s speakers: Alison Hicks and Jesús Lau.

I wanted to share with you some of my notes of introduction to this session:

  • Although my background is in Library and Information Science, I have been interested in technology and education since I graduated from my bachelor studies on Librarianship, as you may see if you read this blog. I have not been able to study or use Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), although they are perhaps one of the most important conceptual and technological innovations regarding alternative models of education.
  • MOOCs are massive, imagine having hundreds or thousand of students; they are open, as they follow the philosophy of openness; and they are online, after all they are courses, online courses.
  • MOOCs are quite interesting as an alternative model, as they may provide universal access to the university, which might have lost its way regarding its uni prefix.
  • I see that MOOCs have plenty of opportunities and challenges for those teaching them and learning from them, some of them have to do with the competences individuals must develop to deal with them, to develop a strong discipline when it comes to study and for managing one’s own time.
  • Information and digital literacies play a very important role when dealing with MOOCs as well as processes of academic certification and rigor, which acquire a new and perhaps more demanding dimension because MOOCs differ a great deal from classic courses.
  • I believe MOOCs must be oriented and grounded on research and problem solving assignments, and that takes a very special academic to lead them. A special type of course needs special teachers and special students and they can be taught special competences for dealing with them. Training would involve various university departments, such as research, the academia, and the university libraries.
  • It is interesting to point out the importance of the focus of this panel, where we have two librarians as guest speakers, Jesús Lau and Alison Hicks, as well as myself, the Learning and Information Development Librarian of CETYS Universidad, having the honor of introducing the topic in discussion and our distinguished guests. I believe that this configuration of speakers is quite a statement from CETYS’ part, because it means that libraries and librarians must be integrated as part of the engine of educational innovations. One clear path to follow is through information and digital literacies but we must question and enhance libraries’ role in breaking educational ground.

You can take a look at the whole session, which was recorded. I also prepared a Spanish/English bibliography on MOOCs, higher education and skills for this Colloquium.

Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning

PAR NLW Machin

Past November I published in the journal New Library World my article titled ‘Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning’, today I’m pleased to offer everyone an open access version, courtesy of the publisher of the journal, which allows an author version to be published in a repository, so of course you may find it in E-LIS. You can find the journal article here as well.

This article is very important for me, as it is the first time I present officially the research framework from my PhD research ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ (DORIS). This research framework is originally intended to study the roles of information literacy, digital literacy, and new literacies in technology mediated (specifically social media) education environments. The abstract of this article is as follows:

This article summarizes the developments, methodological design, and some of the theories framed within a PhD research about the integration of social media in higher education. Its aims are to determine significant issues, challenges and opportunities that emerge when social media are integrated into learning environments in higher education. ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ (DORIS) is proposed as a research framework to address the aims, objectives, and research questions of this study. It was conceived from a Participatory Action Research perspective. This approach is intended to help discover and reflect upon teaching and learning practices in a technologically mediated educational setting. Furthermore, the concept of affinity spaces is discussed, together with its distinction from the concept of communities of practice. The data collection methods planned to conduct the study are: diagnostic questionnaire, blog, social learners’ input and reports, a second questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews. The theory of affinity spaces offers a powerful way of thinking about teaching and learning processes mediated by different technologies. The heuristics that will focus the data collection and analysis are: a) on the function of content, and b) on the function of participants’ interactions with the content and/or with one another. DORIS is proposed as a powerful way to organize learning interventions through the structure of information literacy skills. It is grounded on action research and on constructivist, blended, and problem based learning. Researchers, librarians or educators can adapt this model for teaching, learning and researching about and with social media or for other technologically mediated learning environments, or could be adapted for information literacy programs.

Machin-Mastromatteo, J. D. (2012). Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning. New Library World, 113(11), 571-585. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03074801211282939

An approximation to the new competencies of the librarian, presentation in Chapingo (Mexico)

I received a very kind invitation from a Mexican colleague to participate with a conference in the 3rd National Encounter and 1st International of Librarians in the Autonomous University of Chapingo (Mexico). On the October 4th and via Skype, I made my intervention titled “An approximation to the new competencies of the librarian”, which was some kind of summary of the keynote I delivered for the 3rd Conversation with librarians, bibliophiles and archivists. At the same time, this is part of some research I am conducting in parallel to my main research on the integration and mutual shaping of social media, higher education and information literacy.

With these working documents, I attempt to research on the new competencies and new roles that us librarians and related professionals are developing and fulfilling in the last few decades. We can take a work such as this in order to:

  • Reflect upon our practices
  • Rethink our roles
  • To seek diverse and novel offers of professional and lifelong training
  • To develop these new competencies and roles
  • and finally innovate on library services

I have uploaded the slides with their audio incorporated and the full text article (in Spanish).

DORIS at Library 2.012

I will be presenting my doctoral research on the (free) Worldwide Virtual Conference Library 2.012. The presentation name is “Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills (DORIS): Contributions for Information Literacy Programs”. This research in a nutshell is about the integration of social media into higher education and the discovery of the roles that information, digital and new literacies play in such integration. This presentation focuses on the contributions that my research can provide to information literacy programs. You may find information about my session and the schedule of the conference according to your timezone.

I offer you the slides, the link to the recording of my session, as well as the audio file. Cheers!

Present at the IV Latinamerican Encounter of Librarians, Archivists and Museologists (EBAM)

I arrived at Buenos Aires, where I will present my PhD research for the first time in Spanish at the IV Latinamerican encounter of librarians, archivists and museologists (EBAM). My presentation was called (translated) “Doing online relearning through information skills (DORIS): Contributions for social research, information literacy programs and pedagogies”. This was an excellent opportunity of presenting my research in Spanish for the first time with my return to Latin America. Very nice to do this in a regional conference that gathered professionals from these three related fields.

In the presentation, I reflected upon the origin of this research: a) as an extension of the emerging topic from my master thesis about the use of social media for ‘serious’ purposes and b) as a return or combination with my previous research interest: information literacy.

I offer this research as a contribution to the understanding about the use of technology for higher education. Moreover, provide pedagogical contributions for information professionals wishing to expand upon them, because we librarians and related professionals are not prepared for this role in our typical curricula. It is important to highlight that in order to develop a good information literacy program and to continue following our new role of teachers or instructors, we need to: 1) a sound structure to develop such programs and 2) to develop pedagogic skills.

The slides and the full text are in the Spanish version of the blog, in Spanish, of course.

And here is a picture with Mafalda!! 😀

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