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Repositories provide visibility to scientific production

Malgorzata Lisowska, lead organizer of the Latin American Community Libraries and Digital Repositories (CoLaBoRa) notes the importance of working together to support the dissemination of scientific production in the region.

How did the initiative to form CoLaBora start?
The initiative corresponds to the CLARA call to formalize the communities on libraries and digital repositories. We used informal working groups and we communicated with some communities, what we did was to consolidate and formalize this group.

How long have you been doing this job?
The repository item is new in the world. Began in the early twenty-first century with the birth of the Open Access movement in the year 2002 - 2003 and became popular since 2005. In Latin America, began to make progress in 2007 and we started to see the issue of cooperation between countries. It's something new.

What is the real situation of the repositories in Latin America?
The situation is not the best, according to the International Directory of Institutional Repositories, the world has repositories 1750 and only 5% of these are in Latin America, with a total of 89. This is a good step forward but not enough to popularize and give visibility to the Latin American production.

Within these repositories are producing all kinds or just scientific production?
There are all kinds. There may be articles, draft research reports, theses, master's and doctoral dissertations, learning objects, etc. What is to be achieved on the issue of communities and networks of repositories throughout Latin America is access to scientific production.

Is there enough dissemination of the scientific production in the region?
The problem of dissemination of scientific production in traditional channels is that it has a high cost. Sometimes there are researchers who must pay for them publish an article. With this open access movement and deployment of repositories, what they want to do is to expand a bit and provide opportunities for Latin American authors to publish for free and, thus, giving visibility to their work and knowledge in the world without to pay large sums of money. For users, access will arrive in the same way: free and without investing heavily in purchasing database.

What countries have digital repositories initiatives?
Brazil and Mexico have the advances in the field of implementation of repositories. In 2007, the initiative started in Colombia, with Colombian Digital Library. Also, for more than a year, there is a nascent project in Ecuador, in Chile. Continent needs joint strategies.

What countries form this community?
There are eight countries throughout Latin America and more than 20 institutions in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. CoLaBoRa is an alternative that emerges in Colombia, where we have a community since 2007 and an experience that is called Colombian Digital Library. This project wanted to internationalize and to strengthen ties with our neighboring countries and exchange experiences, development and innovation applied on such issues. Therefore, we invite people who have met informally and we have worked with these issues, who responded with enthusiasm. Thus was formed the community.

Of the 20 institutions that are involved, all have their digital library or repository?
Yes, the idea is to create a network, which is not closed, if someone has no repository and want to participate could. In the world ever more tools are created from these, it helps to decrease the digital divide. Anyone with internet access can enter the information rather than a catalog of a library. With one click you can access at once to the full text of the document.

This opens a door for the scientist to present his work ...
That is the famous concept of visibility. You might ask what is the benefit for the authors to place for free something they could sell. The concept is that of visibility: if they put that stuff and anyone can access it from anywhere in the world will know who I am and what to investigate, what are my strengths and, thus, be able to access sources of funding, scientific networking, international cooperation, etc. The benefits are not monetary or tangible, it also implies a cultural change.

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