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¿Cómo el software libre apoya la diseminación del conocimiento?

América Latina y el Caribe se distinguen de otras regiones del mundo en su modelo de comunicación científica. A diferencia de Europa y América del Norte, América Latina y el Caribe ofrecen la gran mayoría de sus publicaciones científicas de manera abierta (Open Access o acceso abierto) — sin costo alguno a los autores o a los lectores—bajo la creencia que el conocimiento debe ser gestionado como un bien común. Este compromiso con la circulación del conocimiento público se ha empezado a reconocer en el mundo, pero lo que no siempre se reconoce es el rol que ha jugado el software libre (Open Source o de fuente abierta) en apoyarlo e impulsarlo.

Tanto el acceso abierto como el software de fuente abierta se apoyan y fortalecen mutuamente.Por ejemplo, convergen dentro de herramientas como el Sistema de Revistas Abiertas, u Open Journal Systems (OJS), un software libre que ha permitido que individuos y universidades organicen el proceso de edición y revisión por pares, que indexen y visibilicen sus contenidos, y que hagan más eficientes sus procesos de gestión, aún en contextos donde no existen los recursos para pagar por herramientas comerciales.

A continuación exploramos el rol del software de fuente abierta en la apertura del conocimiento:

1- ¿Qué es el Sistema de Revistas Abiertas?

El Sistema de Revistas Abiertas (OJS, por sus siglas en inglés) es un sistema de administración y publicación de revistas académicas desarrolladas por el Proyecto de Conocimiento Público, Canadá (PKP, por sus siglas en inglés). El sistema está diseñado para reducir el tiempo y esfuerzo necesario para la edición de una revista académica. Este sistema permite un manejo eficiente y unificado del proceso editorial, con lo cual se busca acelerar el acceso en la difusión de contenidos e investigación producida en la región. 

2 – ¿Cuántas revistas lo usan?

Actualmente, OJS está siendo utilizada por más de 10.000 revistas en el mundo, con un gran porcentaje de ellas en América Latina, donde se encuentran al menos 3.250 revistas que publicaron 10 documentos o más en 2015 (Figura 1), incluyendo a 161 revistas de la Universidad de São Paulo y a 85 revistas de la Universidad Autónoma de México. Colectivamente, estás revistas han publicado más de 400.000 documentos (Figura 2). 

3- ¿Cómo el Software Abierto brinda Acceso Abierto al conocimiento?

Con la ayuda de una gran comunidad de usuarios, OJS ha ayudado a disminuir las barreras que de otro modo prohibirían gestionar el conocimiento como un bien público. Al colocar el software bajo una Licencia Pública General GNU (GPL), no solamente está filosóficamente alineado con el movimiento de Acceso Abierto, sino que también ha garantizado que nadie se pueda apropiar del código, y que todas las revistas que quieran puedan continuar a depender de él hoy y en el futuro.

4- ¿Por qué esta plataforma ha sido exitosa?

OJS está diseñado para apoyar el proceso editorial y de publicación de una revista: desde el envío de un nuevo manuscrito hasta su publicación e indexación en bases de datos. OJS brina la comunidad una herramienta que se instala y controla en un servidor propio para mantener control completo de las publicaciones, donde los editores configuran los requisitos, las secciones, el proceso de revisión, etc, sin tener que pagar por cada cambio, y con soporte multilingüe para interfaz y contenidos, atendiendo a la complejidad de trabajar en lenguas locales e internacionales simultáneamente. Esto, además de todas las funciones que necesita un sistema de gestión y publicación.

Finalmente, OJS continúa evolucionando y adaptándose a las necesidades de la comunidad académica. El 31 de Agosto de 2016, PKP lanzó una nueva versión de OJS, OJS 3.0, la cual incluye mejoras y nuevas características desarrolladas a partir de retroalimentación de la comunidad.

5- El futuro del open source en la apertura del conocimiento 

Las revistas académicas están constantemente en riesgo de ser cerradas y comercializadas bajo nuevas presiones de un régimen de “internacionalización.” Aunque el objetivo de tener una mayor presencia internacional es loable, no se debe perseguir a costa del rol que las revistas cumplen dentro de los sistemas nacionales y regionales de investigación. Para eso, es imprescindible continuar con la gestión del conocimiento como un bien común. Esto implica continuar gestionándolas localmente de tal manera que la misma comunidad científica sea dueña de las revistas, de sus procesos, y de los conocimientos mismos.

Los software de fuentes abiertas ofrecen a la comunidad científica las herramientas que necesitan para logarlo. Con este tipo de herramientas, como OJS, se puede gestionar y difundir el conocimiento de manera abierta, bajo control local.


Esta columna fue originalmente publicada en el blog Abierto al Público del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo BID.

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