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Comunicación y sociedad

versión impresa ISSN 0188-252X

Comun. soc  no.30 Guadalajara sep./dic. 2017


30th anniversary of Comunicación y Sociedad

Latin American scientific journals of Communication indexed in WoS, Scopus and Open Access databases

Rosario Rogel-Salazar1

Irvin Santiago-Bautista2

Néstor Martínez-Domínguez3

1Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, México. Correo electrónico:

2Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- Unidad Azcapotzalco, México. Correo electrónico:

3Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- Unidad Azcapotzalco, México. Correo electrónico:


We analyze the presence of communication journals published in Latin America in regional and international scientific databases. We identified the country and language in which these journals are published, as well as its availability in open or paid access. The main finding is that -despite the increase of professionalization and research in this field- communication journals have limited presence in these databases.

Keywords: communication journals; WoS; Scopus; Open Access; scholarly communication


Se analiza la presencia de revistas de comunicación editadas en Latinoamérica en bases de datos científicas regionales e internacionales. Se identifica su participación por país e idioma de publicación, así como su disponibilidad al público ya sea abierta o de paga. El principal hallazgo es que -pese al incremento de la profesionalización e investigación en esta área- la presencia de estas revistas en dichas bases es limitada.

Palabras clave: revistas científicas de comunicación; WoS; Scopus; Acceso Abierto; comunicación científica


Scholarly communication and the instruments resorted to in order to analyze the dissemination of specialized information are located in a historic correlation crossed by different factors. While in Europe after the second half of the XVII century the first scientific journals were published, Latin America was undergoing the second century of the colonial regime; therefore, its scientific development was virtually inexistent. It was not until a century later that, by means of personal efforts, scientific research as well as the earliest periodical publications devoted to disseminate such endeavor discreetly began (Cetto & Alonso Gamboa, 1998).

The first steps in scientific publication in Latin America date back to 1772 when, from an initiative of José Ignacio Bartolache and Díaz de la Posada, Mercurio Volante was published in Mexico, a journal which -according to data collected by López Espinoza (2000)- had as a main objective to disseminate “news about different aspects linked to medicine and physics in a supplement” (p. 134) and, it somehow evinced the incipient advance of scientific research in this part of the world.

However, such milestone was nothing more than an isolated effort which did not manage to consolidate but after WWII, in parallel to the institutionalization of Latin America’s educational system. In this conjuncture, scientific research began to be recognized as a relevant activity, linked to -but independent from- higher education and, as a consequence, it was the moment when the outlines of a scientific editorial system began being noticed at local universities (Vessuri, 2013).

For its part, higher education in Communication in the region dates from more recent times. In this regard, López García, Pereira Fariñas & Hernández Soto (2006) point out that Argentina was the first country to establish two schools of journalism in 1934, followed by “Cuba in 1942, Mexico in 1943, Ecuador and Peru in 1945, Venezuela in 1947, Colombia in 1949” (p. 6).

Subsequent to this, the proliferation of schools of Journalism and Communication in Latin America has been a constant, even though in a fragmented and uneven manner. As an instance of this situation, a report published in 2009 by the Federación Latinoamericana de Facultades de Comunicación Social (Felafacs) can be mentioned; it identifies 1 742 public and private university centers in which Communication is taught; out of them, 1 006 (57.7%) are located in Mexico and 361 (20.7%) in Brazil. In them, few are the postgraduate programs, while the report underscores that undergraduate programs present accreditation problems (Mateus Borea, 2009). An uneven distribution between the public and private spheres is also noticed; as a consequence -as referred by the above study- the amount of research in this area of knowledge has not achieved consolidation.

In addition to this, Pineda de Alcázar (2006) indicates that Communication’s objects of study:

… have been constructed from multiple standpoints, however in their first approaches they remained separate and it is in recent years, especially as of the eighties onward, that it is intended to integrate them with a more interdisciplinary vision and a meaning of greater totality in order to further the construction of a transdisciplinary communicational thinking not consolidated yet” (p. 149) [originally written in Spanish].

Considering this historic landscape and that scientific practices are communication practices, we consider it necessary to analyze communication journals published in Latin America, since in addition to be recognized as the formal channels for the circulation of knowledge among academic peers,3 they also reflect the strengthening of the discipline and of the organizational forms of research communities at regional and international levels.

In this scenario, identifying communication journals published in Latin America and registered in scientific databases might be considered a generality, even a commonplace that may not be proper to communication studies. However, previous studies show the interest of the experts’ international community in identifying the panorama of scientific publication in international databases from various perspectives.

At quantitative level, the following can be retaken: analyses that try to describe by means of bibliometric analyses how the scientific field of communication is shaped (Piedra-Salomón, 2016); the coverage of this discipline’s journals in Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar Metrics (Delgado & Repiso, 2013); citation patterns (Feeley, 2008) and links between the different theories of the field by means of network analyses and webometrics (Khan, Lee, Park & Park, 2016); the increase in the numbers of journals in electronic media and in the Journal Citation Reports of Web of Science of various disciplines -including those of communication- and their availability in open access (Antell, Foote & Foote, 2016); as well as the visibility of the scientific output of researchers in the area by means of the profile in Google Scholar Metrics (López, 2014).

Furthermore, from a more qualitative approach, Cano (2013) examines the positioning strategies and new dissemination formats of the contents in the digital environment of the best-positioned journals at JCR-Web of Science; while, Castillo-Esparcia, Rubio-Moraga and Almansa-Martínez (2012) analyze the articles of the top ten journals indexed at JCR-WoS in the 2008 edition in order to describe the authors’ profiles, institutional ascriptions, gender representativeness, professional profile, methodologies, sorts of research, among other elements that allow giving an account -in a more transversal manner- of how the contents that are published in this area’s journals are built.

While these researches allow us to figure a panorama of how communication journals have been incorporated into international databases, most of them have focused on the journals with the best position, most of them published in English-speaking countries. However, these researches have avoided the analysis of the characteristics of editorial outputs by country and regions, in particular those scantly represented in Web of Science or Scopus, such as Latin America.

Thus, the research results presented here start from the supposition that it is necessary to clearly identify which the journals published in Latin America included in the main comprehensive and regional scientific databases are, what their performance as communication channels is and where they are edited.

Owing to these reasons, the present article has as an objective to find out the way in which the communication journals edited in the region position in the so called “mainstream science” by means of their inclusion in Web of Science and Scopus; the comprehensive databases with the most recognition at international level. And also their incorporation into Open Access databases:4 the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) for the international sphere, as well as Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) and Redalyc for the Latin American region.


Over the month of November 2016, the citation indexes’ web sites were consulted: Web of Science (Journal Citation Reports 2015) and Scopus (SCImago Journal & Country Rank 2015) as well as DOAJ directory and regional aggregators SciELO and Redalyc in order to identify the communication journals registered in each of them. Table 1 shows the results of the initial search; this is the analytical context of the present study.

Table 1 Journals in Web of Science, Scopus and Open Access databases 

Source: Own elaboration from Journal Citation Reports 2015-Web of Science; Scimago Journal & Country Rank 2015-Scopus; DOAJ, SciELO and Redalyc, May 2017.

The analyzed databases resort to a mismatching classification; owing to this, in this study results are displayed separately, on the basis of what this research considered a “communication journal”, rather in function of the differentiation that is possible to attribute to cataloguing labels than the journals’ actual contents.

Without doubt, there exist many articles related to topics linked with communication studies published in social-sciences journals (such as Sociology, Anthropology, Political Sciences, among others) which do not necessarily specialize in communication, as we will show with concrete examples further in the text.

This is so because the editors -as the ones in charge of a journal’s editorial policy- define the scope of the publication and thus state it in the guidelines for authors. In other hand, the databases’ managers catalogue each journal in function of what is explicitly mentioned in the editorial policy. Thereby, if a journal whose editorial policy explicitly focuses on a topic from time to time publishes an article dealing with a different topic -related, however- is something that cannot be “controlled” from the databases. What is indeed possible, in turn, is to analyze the citation networks which can evince thematic links between disciplines -regardless of a journal’s editorial policy- which reflects the reception of the contents of the journals by specialized audiences.

For this study’s purposes, “communication journal” was defined as a publication catalogued under labels which had as a descriptor the word “communication”.

In most databases, one same journal might be registered in two or more disciplinary areas. This situation made it difficult to accurately ascertain the total number of registered journals; which means that the total amount of journals grouped in a category will always be larger than the addition recorded for the corresponding subcategories.5 In spite of these reservations, the communication journals registered in these databases were identified.

According to the above, the disciplinary scope of each database was defined as follows:

  1. Journal Citation Reports 2015 by Web of Science (JCR-WoS): Communication in Social Science Citation Index by JCR-WoS.

  2. SCImago Journal & Country Rank by Scopus 2015 (SJR-Scopus): Communication underscores that the present index also classifies book series and conference proceedings in its categories, which led to a second filter that allowed identifying only periodical publications.

  3. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): Communication. Mass Media, which is in the category Language and Literature.

  4. Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO): since this database groups social and human sciences into three large categories without distinction of disciplinary areas, it was necessary to make a manual review of the editorial policy, besides adding journals integrated in SciELO and that were registered in DOAJ under the analyzed disciplinary field.

  5. Redalyc: the search was performed in the “communication” category.

After this search, from each listing the following variables were collected: title of the journal, publishing country, language of the journal and publishing institution, frequency of publication, and number of articles in each issue. As previously mentioned, journals can be catalogued into various disciplinary categories; hence, for the cases of JCR-WoS (2015) and SJR-Scopus (2015), being indexes built from counting citations, data from other categories in which a journal might be were collected. This situation is relevant because it allows pinpointing the construction of interdisciplinary relationships from citations that come from other fields of knowledge. The analytical granularity that both databases enable is greater than that of the other databases analyzed, except for the case of journals integrated in SciELO and which are part of the sub-database Scielo Citation Index.6

Additionally, for the case of JCR-WoS (2015), the web site of the journals there indexed was consulted to ascertain if they are Open Access or have subscription fees to access their contents, resulting two variables: “open access” and “subscription”.7


Even if there are disciplines of social sciences -such as Sociology and Education- which have high degrees of representativeness in the analyzed databases, the participation of communication journals is limited.

For the case of JCR-WoS (2015), 79 communication journals are registered, which represent 0.65% of the total. The amount of journals registered in this area is even lower than the amount of Art journals (86), an area considered underrepresented (in this regard see Leydesdorff, Hammarfelt & Salah, 2011). In SJR-Scopus (2015), for its part, there were 277 communication journals, which represent 0.93% of the index total.8

The scant representativeness of Communication journals noticed in mainstream science databases is also reflected both in Open Access databases and regional aggregators, and this is one of the main findings of this research. This leaves the discussion open on the greater visibility that regional databases provide journals published in the “global south” with, and allows thinking either of the lack of professionalization of the journals published in this region or their lack of consolidation as communication means between experts, issues that extend to social sciences and human disciplines in general.

In DOAJ, 133 journals are listed in the category Communication & Mass Media, equivalent to 1.4% of the total of the directory. For the case of SciELO, 13 journals published in Latin America, which may be related to communication, were found; this means 1.04% of the total. For its part, Redalyc has 13 communication journals published in the analyzed region (1% of the total journals).

Communication journals in comprehensive databases

Communication journals indexed in JCR are largely published in the United States and England, countries which concentrate 84.1% of this area’s journals (see Figure 1). As a consequence, the language of these publications is English, a situation that remains in relation to Pastor’s (2005) observations.

Source: Own elaboration from JCR-WoS (2015), May 2017.

Figure 1 Communication journals in JCR-WoS (2015) by publishing country  

In this group there is no journal published in Latin America, which is paradoxical since, as previously mentioned, the number of higher education programs on communication in Latin America has increased rapidly, however it is not directly linked with the professionalization of this field regarding scientific publication.

And although there is no Latin American publication on Communication indexed in JCR-WoS (2015), distinguishable is the presence of only one Ibero-American journal registered there, namely the journal Comunicar, published by Grupo Comunicar Ediciones, an independent professional society that has been publishing this journal uninterruptedly since 1993.

Noticeable is that three commercial publishers concentrate the management of 68.3% of the communication journals indexed in JCR-WoS (2015): Routledge-Taylor & Francis (32.9%), Sage Publications (27.8%) and Wiley-Blackwell (7.6%). This verifies Larivière, Haustein & Mongeon’s (2015) results, which point at the oligopoly of commercial publishers.

As a consequence of this concentration of commercial publishers in this field of knowledge, 73 journals (92.4%) are Subscription and six (7.6%) are Open Access. This phenomenon is interesting since, in recent years, various fields of knowledge -such as the Biomedical and those focused on Health Care- have developed strategies inside the community of experts to accelerate the circulation of knowledge, from the adoption of Open Access as a scholarly communication model, regardless if such journals charge expensive fees to publish, with which the democratization of access to knowledge is called into question.

It is worth asking, what is it that makes some disciplines opt for Open Access as a way to resolve the opacity problems of scientific output? Probably, we will have to point that the strategies implemented to consolidate Open Access by publishers and scientific communities have not extended to Communication Sciences’ research groups; this field would be expected to have strategies to hasten the scientific dissemination processes, for the communicational phenomenon is its own field of study.

As already mentioned, mainstream databases commonly register journals into more than one discipline, because the plasticity of the citation phenomenon allows a discipline to link with others. This way, communication journals indexed in JCR-WoS (2015) show close interaction with Linguistic, Psychology journals and a lesser linkage with Business, Information Sciences, Political Science and Sociology journals (see Figure 2).

Source: Own elaboration from JCR-WoS (2015), May 2017.

Figure 2 Links of citation with other disciplines. Communication journals indexed in JCR-WoS (2015)  

For the case of SJR-Scopus (2015), communication journals link with Social Sciences journals, ensued by Arts and Humanities, Computer Science, Psychology, Business, management and accounting, Engineering, among others (Figure 3).

Source: Own elaboration from SJR-Scopus (2015), May 2017.

Figure 3 Links of citation with other disciplines. Communication journals indexed in SJR-Scopus (2015) 

From the analysis of the 277 communication journals indexed in SJR-Scopus (2015), it is noticed that most of them are published in the United Kingdom and the United States (70.7%), followed by the Netherlands (Holland). Figure 4 shows the number of journals indexed in SJR-Scopus (2015) by country, where the asymmetry in the number of journals between the United Kingdom (102) and the Netherlands (22) is highlighted.

Source: Own elaboration from SJR-Scopus (2015), May 2017.

Figure 4 Communication journals indexed in SJR-Scopus (2015) by country  

And even if Spain positions as the fourth publishing country in this field, with 10, all the Latin American countries as a whole have fewer journals (9) in SJR-Scopus, in this field of knowledge, as displayed in Table 2.

Table 2 Latin American Communication journals. Indexed in JCR-Scopus, Scielo, DOAJ and Redalyc (2015) 

Source: Own elaboration from Scimago Journal & Country Rank 2015-Scopus; DOAJ, Scielo and Redalyc, November 2016.

It is important to distinguish that almost every Communication journal registered in JCR-WoS (2015) is so in SJR-Scopus, even though the latter has broader coverage of countries and publishers. However, the same concentration degrees regarding country and publishing language are noticed; in fact, 87% of the journals publish their contents in English and the rest in French, Spanish and Portuguese.

In both databases -JCR-WoS (2015) and SJR-Scopus (2015)- the participation of Communication journals does not surpass one percentage point, and is even lower in JCR-WoS. In spite that the ways of classification of both databases do not allow decisively stating this, because -as previously mentioned- a large number of journals are registered in more than one category, and more importantly, it is possible that some journal identified in any other disciplinary field than communication -both in human areas and social sciences- deals with a topic of interest for communication studies. However, this can only be found out by means of content analysis of the journals and the topics dealt with at various times, which opens a new analysis line in this research.

In the same was as JCR-WoS (2015), SJR-Scopus (2015) mainly indexed journals published by corporations specialized in scientific publishing and 71.4% of the journals registered are subscription ones, while 26.3% can be freely consulted, regardless of whether they resort to a fee from Article Processing Charge.

Open Access Databases

DOAJ, the largest and most important Open Access directory in the world, accounts for 133 Communication journals. Their distribution by country presents a different logic from that of JCR-WoS and SJR-Scopus: Brazil, Spain and the United States are the countries with the most journals.

Notwithstanding having few Communication journals, distinguishable is the inclusion of other countries such as the Latin American: Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, which do not appear in the mainstream science’s databases, contrary to Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico (see Table 2). In like manner, the presence of countries such as Australia, Rumania and Italy stands out, which are invisible in the aforementioned databases. By contrast, the negligible presence of British journals is noticeable; these journals are among the most numerous in the previous indexes, whereas in this directory there are only three journals (see Figure 5).

Source: Own elaboration from DOAJ, May 2017.

Figure 5 Communication journals registered in DOAJ (2016) by country 

Although the inclusion of journals in DOAJ represents the certification of quality scientific publishing processes in open access, the data offered do not facilitate the analysis at a higher granularity level, as it does not generate bibliometric indicators that allow ascertaining -in terms of impact- the journals’ performance.

Since the cataloguing for the social-sciences area in SciELO is general, no thematic classification focused on Communication was found. Therefore, journals catalogued in the social-sciences area were individually examined from the declaration of their scope and their presence in DOAJ. This way, 13 journals published in Latin America that include Communication in their thematic sphere were identified: five Brazilian, three Colombian, two Argentine, while Chile, Mexico and Peru register one journal each (see Table 2).

It is important to underscore that each and every communication journal registered in SciELO is integrated (and in turn updated) into the sub-database Scielo Citation Index, which provides them with greater visibility regarding bibliographic and bibliometric indicators, which are also incorporated in the citation indexes generated by WoS.

For its part, Redalyc registers 14 communication journals, of which three are Brazilian, three Colombian, two Mexican, while Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela register one each. However, as the Chilean journal Cuadernos de Información changed name and its continuation is, it is not registered in such database; actually, Redalyc integrates 13 active titles of this area of knowledge, which means 1% of the titles (see Table 2).

In the specific case of Redalyc, distinguishable is its incursion in the integration of XML formats - SciELO was a pioneer of this modality and has an accumulated experience of more than twelve years of publishing open and interoperable formats. Perhaps due to its novelty, only two out of the 13 (active) communication journals registered in the former database resort to XML viewer: Quórum Académico from Venezuela and Signo y Pensamiento from Colombia, nevertheless they do not include it in their institutional web sites yet, which would be indispensable.

For the three analyzed Open Access databases, English is not the main publishing language, because the composition of these listings does not lean toward English-speaking countries, but toward countries of the so called “global south”.

Characteristics of Latin American communication journals in bibliographical databases

Although no Latin American communication journal is indexed in WoS, in total there are 55 journals included in any of the four other analyzed databases (except for the journal that changed name and whose presence doubles as it is integrated in Redalyc).

Out of them, only two journals are present in four of the five analyzed databases (everyone but WoS) and both are Colombian (4.6% of the total). These journals are Palabra Clave (Universidad de la Sabana, Colombia) and Signo y Pensamiento (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia) (see Table 2).

On the other side, five of the analyzed journals are registered in three of the five databases under study: La trama de la comunicación, Intercom Revista Brasileira de Ciências da Comunicação, Galáxia, and Anagramas. Rumbos y Sentidos de la Comunicación (none of them in Scopus yet) and Comunicación y Sociedad (not registered in DOAJ).

Out of the 10 Latin American communication journals registered in Scopus, two of them are in quartile two in function of their citation levels, two in quartile three and five in quartile four. Of them, the case of Brazilian journal Informação e Sociedade (Universidade Federal de Campina Grande) is noticeable, as it is not registered in any of the open access databases analyzed.

More than a half of the Latin American communication journals registered in Scopus are published in Brazil (5 out of 9), two other are published in Colombia and one in Chile, Ecuador and Mexico, respectively. And while Ecuadorian journal Chasqui is integrated in DOAJ as a communication journal, Scopus does register it but in the area of Cultural Studies (Q4) and in Literature (Q3).

For its part, the database that integrates the most communication journals is DOAJ (42 journals), most of them published in Brazil (26 journals), followed by Argentina (6 journals) and Colombia (4 journals) (see Table 2).

As regards timely publishing, it is noticed that a good deal of the analyzed journals is somewhat delayed in publishing, because they have not uploaded any 2017 publication. More than a half of them has biannual (58%) periodicity, 18% four-month and it is distinguished that 6 are published yearly (10.9%). On average, these journals publish 13 articles per issue, however differences are important: the journal that publishes the most articles is Razón y Palabra (Ecuador) with 48, and the one that publishes the fewest is Revista Orbis (Venezuela) with 4.

While it is not possible to state anything on the content itself, as long as a thorough qualitative analysis is not performed, it is noticeable that some journals do not explicitly mention peer review in their own institutional web sites; such are the cases of Punto Cero (Bolivia), Quórum Académico (Venezuela) and Matrizes (Brazil) which only mention a review but the modality is not described (all of them registered only in Redalyc and not in the other analyzed databases).


This study’s results show that Communication journals do not have representative figures in each of the analyzed databases. It is remarkable that, in spite of diverse endeavors to strengthen professionalization and research on Communication in Latin America, these do not correlate with the presence of dissemination means specialized in this area in the analyzed databases.

Albeit the described situation gives an account of a relative absence of Communication journals published in the region, there is also low representativeness of the discipline in Open Access databases and regional aggregators. This evinces that, at least in the sphere of Communication studies, regional aggregators have as a pending issue the inclusion of more journals of this discipline, without releasing the journals’ editors from this responsibility.

The above is meaningful, because over recent years research-funding agencies promote as an assessment criterion to publish in mainstream science journals, with which the strategies of the academicians of the region are altered: if a researcher linked to the area of Communication were interested in publishing in these journals, they should address their efforts to write in English and publish in English-language journals which are Subscription or Open Access with expensive Article Processing Charges; or else, publish in mainstream science journals published in Latin America, but catalogued in areas other than Communication. This situation explains the reason why we find Communication articles published in journals of other Social Sciences and also exhibits the incapacity to consolidate communication media specialized in the referred area.9

In total, nine are the Latin American Communication journals that are indexed in Scopus, of them, seven are in SciELO, three in DOAJ and other three in Redalyc. However these journals would not have a problem to be included into all the analyzed databases simultaneously, beyond the interest of the editor in including them. This makes us wonder, what is it that makes the editors not take the decision to integrate their journals into such databases? A possible hypothesis would be that editors deem it additional work or maybe they do not see the advantages or added value obtained from this. Analyzing the editors’ motivations in this respect is one of the objectives of the continuation of the present work.

This phenomenon is closely related to the practices of scholarly communication in Social Sciences at global level, which have thematic approaches and local audiences, in comparison with sciences and engineering that have globally established codes and conversations, owing to the topics they deal with.

Therefore, if Social Sciences have regional conversations and publications, it would be desirable they intended to consolidate their communication means in their regions by building up collaborative contexts that enable:

  1. Training high-quality human resources regarding scientific publishing.

  2. Adopting Open Access free as a scholarly communication model, particularly for the “global south” countries, advocating for a sustainable model that allows actual visibility for the journals, without implying duplication of efforts, and under international standards that meet legal regulations of distribution and also interoperability guidelines congruent with the latest scientific publishing tendencies.10

  3. Creating collaboration networks between professionals, researchers, professors and students at regional level that enable them to build relationships to disseminate the most recent research results in each area.

  4. Consolidating processes for the native digital publishing of the region’s journals, in view of not only allowing a journal’s manuscripts to be available in electronic format, but also with the help from web 2.0 and science 2.0 tools, the journals can become communicative platforms able to host data, images, protocols, methodologies and other elements involved in research processes, which can be available for any user to peruse and/or reutilize. This would allow hastening the processes of dissemination, collaboration and feedback of the scientific information generated in the region, as well as reducing costs, increasing the regions’ visibility, and gradually, the publications’ impact.

  5. In addition to the bibliometric indicators produced by WoS and Scopus, Latin American journals can resort to indicators provided by Scielo Citation Index for the 13 Communication journals indexed in SciELO, for the case analyzed here. However, it is necessary to focus efforts on analyzing the content of each of these journals, and on identifying the dialogues that are established with other journals through citation. It is a priority task as well to be aware of the agendas of the research topics they publish in order to identify the specialization areas that can be reflected on their editorial policies.

These elements must be taken into account -not only by the academic community linked to Communication studies -so that they have it clear where to direct their efforts to communicate their research results, but also by those who are in charge of designing policies to support research on this field of knowledge, in such manner that the demands in terms of what sort of production to assess, how and why are congruent with the actual possibilities of attaining the expected results.


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2We acknowledge support from Mayra Vargas-Espinoza -from Universidad de Guadalajara- who collaborated in collecting the information from the databases analyzed here in the context of the program Verano de Investigación Científica of Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, from June to August, 2016. In like manner, we owe a debt to the three anonymous reviewers, as their suggestions improved this work.

3By formal channels of scholarly communication, we refer to those publications not only with legal registrations (ISSN in the case of periodicals and ISBN in the case of books and monographies), but also which resort to certain criteria to select their contents -in science it is vital to operate under the “peer review” process-; and also the way in which such contents are easily retrievable by the users. This is the reason why some formal communication channels, but mainly informal ones, are considered “grey literature” (Raamkumar, Foo & Pang, 2015).

4According to Swan (2013), Open Access can be understood as “… is the provision of free access to peer-reviewed, scholarly and research information to all. It requires that the rights holder grants worldwide irrevocable right of access to copy, use, distribute, transmit, and make derivative works in any format for any lawful activities with proper attribution to the original author. [...] uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to increase and enhance the dissemination of scholarship. OA is about Freedom, Flexibility and Fairness“ (p. 7).

5This is so in every specialized database. However, this criterion is not shared by the aggregator Redalyc, in which journals are only assigned to one disciplinary area.

6Scielo Citation Index (Scielo CI) integrated to the platform of Web of Science (WoS) as of 2014, it shares the same functions, resources and browsing characteristics as WoS interface. It is conceived as an advanced solution to the problems of indexation and count of citations of the articles published in journals Red SciELO (Packer, 2014).

7Since a number of funding agencies ask for Open Access for the research they sponsor (particularly from public funds), commercial publishers have moved the reader-paid business model to that of author-paid model. This model retains the traditional subscription schema, but allows authors to leave their article in Open Access by means of a publication fee by article (Article Processing Charge, APC). This model is known as hybrid model. Due to this research’s scope, this model was considered in the category “Subscription”, even though it opens the possibility for future research to find out the proportion of journals in this model and the cost of APC.

8For the reader interested in learning the specific data from these searches, we make available in Open Access the raw data from which this analysis was derived in the following FigShare link:


To exemplify this situation, a basic search was undertaken over April 2017 in the web site of some journals with the most recognition in Mexico which, in spite of not specializing in Communication, do publish content related to the area. As a result of the search, the following articles were found:

10Discussion on Open Access in recent years has taken new nuances. Even if the basic principle of making the research materials available without restrictions seems undiscussable, the emergence of charging for publishing in open access by commercial publishers (by means of APC), the appearance of predatory journals that use Open Access as a flag, as well as the implementation of public policy instruments regarding Open Access and the databases’ multiple interoperability problems and the uneven levels in technological development that mean double workloads for the editors of the region, seem to configure new problems which will have to be thoroughly analyzed by region, country, discipline and institutions in future research. In this regard, an important advance is noticed in Alperin (2015).

Received: February 07, 2017; Accepted: April 07, 2017

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