Mexico - Open science country note

Open science and the national context

Mexico has three major projects with a common objective: access and diffusion within the country of scientific information that will contribute to fresh scientific knowledge, the technological transference process, and innovation. These projects are:  Latindex, SciELO México and Redalyc. As a new project, CONACYT will launch the creation of National Repositories of Scientific Information Resources, Technology and Innovation of Quality and Social and Cultural Interest. 

Open science research and innovation actors

These actors are the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT); The Ministry of Education, Presidency of the Republic; and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). To these institutions should be added the collaboration of organisms like Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad and most of the public state universities. There is no register of the public support that each institution contributes for this purpose, but CONACYT currently allocated MXN 11.2 million. 

Policy design - Open/increasing access to scientific publications

Latindex is an information system focused on scientific and technical/professional journals, as well as popular science periodicals published in Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. Its mission is to disseminate and make these journals available, as well as to increase the quality of academic journals published in the region. Latindex was created in 1995 at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and became a regional co-operation network in 1997.

Latindex currently offers three databases: 1) a directory with bibliographic data and the contact information of all registered magazines, from both printed and electronic journals; 2) a catalog that includes only journals (printed and electronic) that meet the editorial quality criteria specified by Latindex; and 3) a link to electronic journals, which allows users to access their full text on the sites where they are stored. The “Products” section of Latindex further describes these resources and how to consult them.

SciELO México is part of the SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) regional network, which consists of collections of academic journals from 15 countries, among them Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba and Spain. The SciELO México collection is managed by the General Directorate of Libraries (DGB) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

During 2007 and 2008, the Information Centre for Public Health Decisions (CENIDSP), part of the National Institute of Public Health (INSP), collaborated on developing the SciELO México collection by selecting publications and funding for the electronic edition of biomedical journals. Moreover, from 2006 to 2008, SciELO México was sponsored by UNAM’s Macroproject: Technologies for the Information and Computing University (MTUIC).

Currently, SciELO México receives funding from the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) to promote national and international dissemination of those journals that are part of the Mexican Index of Scientific and Technological Research Journals, and to help assess the impact of these technologies through consistent bibliometric indicators.

Redalyc is an academic project for the dissemination of scientific periodicals published in Latin America. It is in principle an open access online scientific library, though over time it has evolved into a scientific information system that incorporates tools for analysing the production, dissemination and consumption of scientific literature. The name Redalyc comes from the Spanish for Latin American, Caribbean, Spanish and Portuguese Network of Scientific Journals. The project, launched in October 2002 and promoted by the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, is the initiative of a group of researchers and publishers concerned about how little research results generated in the zone are disseminated. Since the project’s inception, it has been proposed that Redalyc be a focal point for those interested in gathering the scientific knowledge of Latin America.

There are also the magazines that constitute CONACYT’s Index of Mexican Scientific And Technology Research Journals. The year 2013 saw the launch of an e-project to provide access to these journals and promote them worldwide (the Index is open access).

In 2014, new provisions were added to the Science and Technology Law, the General Educational Law, and the Organic CONACYT Law that incorporates the open access concept.

What is meant by open access is a digital platform that does not require any subscription or payment to access its research work or educative, academic or scientific material; the digital platform has been financed by public resources and has used public infrastructure for its development, without prejudice to its intellectual property rights or to information that had to be protected due its nature.

The law stipulates that CONACYT will support (by the assignation of financial resources) the creation of institutional repositories, operated by repositorios nacionales (RN); their function will be to gather, and to preserve and manage electronic access to, information and quality content; this will also include publicly funded social and cultural interests in Mexico. The RN will operate in accordance with international standards that allow the public to search, read and download complete texts, and to reproduce, distribute, import, export, identify, store, preserve and recover all the information obtained. 

Open science and international co-operation

Mexico was a party to the Jamaican Declaration to Open Access, promoted by UNESCO.

The country participates in a Latin American open access initiative called LA Referencia, whose main objective is to contribute to the dissemination of the scientific and technological information of the eight member countries.

Recently Mexico joined the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), to finance the publication in open access gold journals of articles from Mexican scientists on high energies. 

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