The Impact of Open Journal Systems on a Mexican Journal

Alejandro Cabello-Pasini, University of Baja California

Abstract


Ciencias Marinas is a bilingual (English and Spanish) journal publishing peer-reviewed, scientific research on all aspects of marine sciences. The journal has been published since 1974 by the University of Baja California in Ensenada, Mexico, and the printed version is distributed to 59 countries under a subscription and/or exchange basis. In 2006, however, an effort was initiated to offer an open-access electronic version using the Open Journal System software. Since the webpage was established, there has been a linear increase in users of the electronic version of Ciencias Marinas. The number of users is currently increasing at a rate of approximately five per day. Internet data bases, and searches of oceanographic institutions and of author emails from published journals have been the most effective methods for alerting potential users to the Table of Contents and have proved critical for increasing readership. Scientists from at least 45 countries registered as users of the journal in the first six months of implementing the electronic version, representing 76% of the users of the printed version. Users from 18 countries represent 95% of the users of the electronic journal, though Spanish-speaking countries represent 24% of all countries registered. This suggests that the electronic version of the Journal has been reaching more scientists from non-latinamerican countries. The electronic version of Ciencias Marinas is currently being accessed by users representing approximately 30% of countries with coastline and by approximately 80% of countries with University/Government oceanographic programs. The number of manuscripts received has doubled since the electronic system was established. Prior to the electronic version, contributions by Mexican authors represented the bulk of manuscripts received and published. Now, Mexican authors publishing in Ciencias Marinas are in a minority, indicating that the journal is being used by scientists from other countries. While most of the manuscripts received are from Spanish-speaking countries, the number of authors from non-Spanish-speaking countries has increased significantly. Enrollment to the electronic journal was found to decline during summer and winter vacations, thus Table of Content notices have to be mailed well before or after these periods. While the electronic system has been in use for only six months, the readership has increased dramatically and it is expected to increase the impact factor of the Journal.


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