Editorial welcome

Welcome to Volume 1 of Journal of Latinamerican Sciences and Culture (JLASC)! This is a new, peer-reviewed, open access journal, published by Universidad Privada del Valle, and affiliated to the Andean Road Countries for Science and Technology (ARCST) and Elektro High-Tech Ltd. Co. JLASC is a project that seeks to challenge current science, technology and society scholarship while, at the same time, making visible the research undertaken from Latin America as well as in other peripheral regions.

The next section reports the history of the journal’s founding and its aims and scope. Section 2 provides an introduction to its Editorial Team, and its Editorial and Advisory Boards, and in Section 3, to its affiliating organizations and sponsors. In the interests of transparency and accountability, Section 4 describes three central editorial principles of the journal, and in Section 5, its planned submission and review practices.

History, aims, and scope

In July 2018, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Marco A. Cabero, Prof. Wang Xinsheng, Gerson Cuba, Michael Claros, David Sustach and Zhang Xiaoxin met at the workshop organized at the Beihang University “Small Satellite Technology Strategy” organized by the Andean Road Countries for Science and Technology and Prof. Wang Xinsheng. Dr. Cabero and Prof. Wang decided to explore the possibility of founding a journal that could productively intervene in the colonial institutional structure of periphery social sciences and promote the dissemination of science in Latinamerica.

Following a tradition of focusing on centers and peripheries in science, Dr. Cabero pointed out that periphery social scientists were faced with two choices, each unattractive in different ways. On the one hand, they could locate their research to so-called international universities, publishers, and other institutions, and to the English lingua franca of the “international”. On the other hand, they could remain permanently in their home-based local research community and its local language – Spanish in the case of his fieldwork, or Chinese for other researchers. The former choice weakened social scientists’ home-based scientific community by taking talented researchers out of it. The latter ensured that their work would not get read, debated, or cited in the international community. Rather it would circulate only in the local, often small, geographical and language community. Thus, it could not enlarge the scope and depth of the “international” analyses that suffered from the lack of critical perspectives from periphery social scientists.

Could a trans-Latin American journal, published in three languages but with editorial decisions made primarily by both Spanish and Portuguese speakers in Latin America, intervene to transform this colonial situation? This was the vision to which JLASC responds.

Thus the journal has three missions. The first is to engage diverse social, economic and political actors in debates around science, technology and their roles in the future of Latin America. In an era in which science and technology are usually acclaimed or vilified, focusing on science, technology and society opens up their potential to transform not only these fields in the region, but also the policy foundations on which Latinamericans want to build their diverse but related futures. Second, this journal intends to be a gathering place to encourage and strengthen STS networks across the global south; that is, to strengthen what global northerners think of as “periphery studies.” Finally, it intends to foster global, comprehensive dialogs between centers and peripheries. It will do so by focusing on how science and techology strategies in the global north affects Latin America and the global south, and how science and technology strategies in the global south have effects in the global north. Thus, in these several ways JLASC will enable a Latin America focus on science, technology and society not only as a neglected object of knowledge, but even more importantly, as its heretofore disallowed subject. 

All too often Latinamerican scientific and technical activities, their histories, challenges, effects and meanings have been neglected in standard histories of science, social studies of science and technology, and even Latinamerican Studies.

The journal will provide analyses of science and technology policies, practices, needs, and desires from a part of the world where old legacies are being re-examined and new practices explored. Consequently, not only Latinamerican Studies, but also many other internationally focused university departments and institutions around the globe will be able to depend upon a steady supply of top quality reading material for students. This enables the addition of new courses focused on science and technology in society that such departments and institutions have lacked, as well as the integration of new kinds of science and technology issues into research and learning.

The Senior Editorial Team, Editorial Board, and International Advisory Board

The Senior Editorial Team was appointed by the Editor in Chief beginning in late 2019. This group will always consist of a variety of researchers, scientist and even professionals working in the industry, though focused on Latinamerican issues, with larger portfolios representing the journal’s missions. The Senior Editorial Team has been holding Skype meetings every other Tuesday since early January. Team members Skype in for an hour’s strategizing and advising meeting from their home bases in different parts of the world, or from wherever else their research, policy, and other travels find them on Tuesdays with Skype possibilities.

The Associate Editors will assist the Editor-in-Chief with the ongoing work of deciding which submitted manuscripts go out for external review, selecting reviewers, tracking the subsequent trajectory of such manuscripts through the review process, and joining the Editor-in-Chief in making policy decisions. The Book Review members of the team, will similarly organize processes of selecting, inviting, and editing book and literature reviews in the areas of JLASCs several missions. Such processes will be assisted by JLASC’s Managing Editor in the Editor in Chief’s office at Universidad Privada del Valle (UNIVALLE) in Bolivia. All Senior Editorial Team members will serve fixed terms of five or so years starting with Volume 1, to be staggered so that there is continuity in this group. Upon terming out, they will be invited permanently to join the International Advisory Board.

The Editorial Board members were invited in August 2018, after the agreement with UNIVALLE was signed. Half of this group are and will always be Latiamericans. The other half are from outside Latinamerica. Editorial Board members also serve fixed terms of five or so years, initially staggered. Upon terming out, they are invited permanently to join the International Advisory Board. With the good efforts of this board, JLASC can expect not only valuable advice on journal issues, but also a steady supply of manuscripts shepherded to the journal, manuscript reviews and recommendations for such, and recommendations of books and book reviewers.

The International Advisory Board appointments initially go to a small number of the many significant scholars, half Latiamericans and half from around the globe. Also on this board are representatives of the major funders of JLASC’s start-up: Elektro High-Tech Ltd. Co. However, this group has no fixed terms; rather it is intended to be a permanent, and constantly increasing in number, community of scholars specializing in science and technology issues. This board will represent an ongoing and increasing Latinamerican and international group of scholars familiar with JLASC’s missions and processes, and committed to transforming global science and technology toward a more deserved international status. This board, too, will give advice to the journal, shepherd appropriate manuscripts for submission, and books and book reviewers to the journal’s attention.

It is also hoped that the Editorial and International Advisory Boards can assist in raising funds to cover the journal’s start-up costs as well as the costs of possible prizes and other special projects, such as thematic clusters, translations, and edited volumes.

Affiliations and sponsors

JLASC is formally affiliated to UNIVALLE, ARCST, and ELEKTRO High-Tech Ltd. Co. As a node in a dense network of scholars and institutions, JLASC benefits greatly from these affiliations and expect to contribute to strengthen the bonds between associations, their members, and the scholarship they produce.

Such affiliations and are important because LatinAmerican journals, like those located in other parts of the periphery, tend to have, with a few notable exceptions, erratic and fragile institutional existences. The Editor-in-Chief’s creation of an already functioning Senior Editorial Team also contributes to insuring that the Journal can look forward to maintaining a sturdy publication schedule in spite of periphery challenges, and in the context of moving its editorial office around in Latin America as it is directed by subsequent Editors-in-Chief.

JLASC editorial principles

Three editorial principles are especially important. First, JLASC is an Open Access journal that always, in every case, prioritizes the quality of submissions over any financial decision, in particular the ability of authors to pay the Article Processing Charges (APC) that will cover, in the long term, the publication expenses. The term “Open Access” indicates the free availability, on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose [as defined by copyright licenses], without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself. (“Budapest Open Access Initiative”)

Both JLASC and UNIVALLE insist that financial decisions will never have any effect on editorial decisions.

The finances of any new editorial project are always a delicate issue. This is, first, because of the difficulties of getting funds to cover, in the long term, the costs of publication. Yet, current trends in the industry are changing financing from the subscription model to an APC system. On behalf of the Senior Editorial Team, it is important to point out that all high-quality manuscripts will be published regardless of the ability of authors to pay APC. Submissions first will be reviewed and accepted before financial decisions are made. The Editor-in-Chief will be able to provide APC waiver codes to those authors who are deemed to be unable to pay the APC, which they can enter on submission. All authors, regardless of background, will be able to request a waiver, which will then be judged on its merits, with oversight from the Editor-in-Chief. Authors from countries designated by the World Bank as low or middle income, qualify for 100% or 50% waivers, respectively, and authors from 37 countries listed by EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries), will a have greatly reduced or no article publishing charge. Authors from following Latin American countries will receive a 50% discount on all APCs: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela. What constitutes “from” such a country will be generously decided by the editor. They will also be waived or reduced for authors from around the globe whose circumstances require such waivers, such as graduate students, and independent scholars. Commissioned submissions, such as book and literature reviews, will have APCs waived in accord with this policy.

Secondly, JLASC is a peer-reviewed journal. All non-commissioned submissions will be double blind peer reviewed. Commissioned submissions, such as book and literature reviews, will be reviewed by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, with the expectation that they will be accepted if they meet the journal’s publication standards. Thus, all submissions must meet international standards for high-quality language, for well-organized arguments, and they must meet the UNIVALLE style guidelines. The publication in English in this journal is a challenging issue. We want to make clear that JLASC does expect submissions from scholars who are not native English speakers; so the journal commits to embrace this diversity within the review process. Moreover, JLASC welcomes submissions in which the linguistic dimension of science and technology and their studies can be critically assessed.

Finally, JLASC intends to have transparent processes and prompt communication with authors. The editors intend to make each manuscript’s journey through submission and review processes as quick as possible, and to keep authors informed of where their submission is in this journey.

JLASC submission and review processes

While the editors intend prompt publication, several aspects of these processes are out of the journal’s control. It can take longer than desired to secure the commitment of at least two external reviewers. This is because the kinds of high quality reviewers on whom JLASC insists have many other demands on their time. Those same demands often prevent reviewers from getting in their reviews as promptly as they had initially confirmed. Authors, too, have busy schedules and cannot always make requested revisions promptly. Once a manuscript lags behind in these processes, it becomes even more difficult to keep it on a timely schedule. Nevertheless, the editors intend to do everything they can to monitor and speed along these processes.

There are four stages in the submission and review process. First, authors submit their manuscripts through the UNIVALLE website, Website Customization by: OpenJournalSystems.com (journal homepage: www.journalas.org and submission site: www.revistas.univalle.edu), and receive an acknowledgment of submission. The Editorial Team assesses the manuscript and the author is notified that the manuscript has either been rejected or that it is to be sent out for double blind external review.

Second, editors invite external reviewers, secure at least two, and double check that the author has redacted the manuscript (removed identification of author within the manuscript). The manuscript is sent out for double blind external review. The author is notified when it goes out for review. External reviewers assess the article and report to editors, who assess external reviews, send them to the author, and advise the author that the manuscript has been accepted, accepted with minimal revision and to be resubmitted, requires a full revision and re-submission (R&R), or rejected.

Third, the author revises and resubmits. Editors review the revised manuscript and advise author: Accepted, another R&R, or rejected. If required, the author does second minimal R&R and resubmits. Editors advise: accept or reject. When accepted, the Editor-in-Chief assesses the author’s financial status, and then sends the manuscript to the UNIVALLE production process with the recommendation of full, partial, or no waiver of APC.

Fourth, Univalle manages the manuscript’s journey to publication and correspondence with author. The manuscript is copyedited, and the author asked for confirmation (or not) of the changes recommended. Then UNIVALLE produces the final version of the manuscript, proofs it, and requests author’s agreement with the proof.

Publication! The quickest a manuscript could complete the journey from submission to publication is probably about four months. This will most likely occur only rarely. But most submissions should achieve publication within eight months of submission.

In conclusion, we hope you enjoy the exciting new adventure that is JLASC as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you. And we look forward to receiving your manuscripts, and suggestions of books that we should review.

Saludos/Greetings/你好!

Dr. Marco A. Cabero Z., Editor-in-Chief
On behalf of the Editorial Team

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