Free Scientific Journals from Latin America on SciELO

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Patent searchers can locate a wide variety of international non-patent literature during global prior art searches by using open-access (OA) resources. Both DOAJ and OpenDOAR provide access to international open-access journals and repositories.  Another example of an international OA resource is SciELO, an open-access network of Latin American and Caribbean-based scientific journals.  SciELO provides users free access to Spanish and Portuguese-language journal articles that cover a broad range of scientific topics, and the contents of SciELO can be searched through an English-language interface.

Continue reading to learn the search and viewing options available on SciELO!

Background and SciELO Methodology
SciELO – Scientific Electronic Library Online is an open-access network of Latin American and Caribbean-based scientific journals that was initially begun as a partnership between the State of São Paulo Science Foundation (FAPESP), the Latin America and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME), and “national and international institutions related to scientific communication and editors.” The site began as a pilot project “involving 10 Brazilian journals from different subject areas” and “was successfully carried out from March 1997 to May 1998.” The project began regular operation after June 1998, and since 2002, the project is also supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).

SciELO aims to operate a series of both national sites (such as SciELO Brazil, SciELO Chile, and SciELO Cuba) and thematic sites (i.e. SciELO Public Health), with a central portal to provide access to the full network of SciELO sites. Features of the SciELO Methodology include:

  • Electronic publication of complete editions of scientific journals
  • Organization of searchable bibliographical and full text databases
  • Preservation of electronic archives
  • Production of statistical indicators of the scientific literature usage and impact
  • Journal evaluation criteria based on international scientific communication standards
  • Full text are integrated with hyperlinks to national and international databases (such as MEDLINE)
Search and Viewing Features on SciELO

The central SciELO portal is viewable in English, Portuguese, or Spanish. From the central portal, users can choose from a number of navigation options:

  • Browse through the SciELO Network – Select from region-based or thematic book collections (Brazil) or journal collections (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Venezuela, Public Health, Social Sciences). Journal collections in development are also listed, as well as additional links to scientific websites of interest.

Browse through regional and thematic collections.

  • Search Article – Search articles by keyword, and select the search method (integrated, by keyword, lexical proximity, or Google Scholar) and region/theme (Regional, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Venezuela, Public Health, Social Sciences) via drop-down menus. It should be noted that each search method produces a slightly different display of search results, and the “integrated” search option seems to display the main search interface. The Google Scholar option takes the user directly to Google Scholar search results.

Search for individual articles through the central SciELO portal.

  • Browse Journals – Browse journals by alphabetical list of titles, subject, or publisher.

Browse journals alphabetically by title, subject, or publisher.

From the central SciELO homepage, users can view various statistics on site usage, citations, co-authors, and the total numbers of journals/issues/articles/citations available through the portal. Links to lists of the latest issues and journals are also available through the homepage.

After conducting an article search using the “integrated” search method, the user is taken to a list of results that’s initially in Portuguese, but the user can also view results through a Spanish or English interface. The result list includes a basic search form at the top of the page that allows users to search by keyword within the Title, Author, Abstract, or Sponsor fields (users may also select region/theme from a drop-down menu). Search results are arranged ten per page, and results can be resorted, selected results may be emailed/printed/exported, and the search query can be converted to an RSS or XML feed. Search results list the title, author, citation information, abstract (when available) and options to print or share the result for each record. A side-menu includes links to the user’s search history and selected results, as well as a number of filtering options (by subject, journal, year, language, or collection).

Search results through the “Integrated” search option.

Select the record title to view the full-text of the article. The full text view only appears to be available in Spanish/Portuguese. Features available in the full-text view include:

  • Option to view article as PDF
  • Option to view article in XML
  • References of the article
  • Citation formats
  • Automatic translation (through Google Translate)
  • Email the article
  • View indicators for the article (other citations of the article in SciELO, access statistics)
  • View similar articles on SciELO
  • Bookmark the article

A full record on SciELO.

Conclusion
SciELO may not provide the same broad international coverage as large open-access directories like DOAJ or OpenDOAR.  However, SciELO is one example of a free niche resource for locating non-patent literature (NPL) from a specific region.  SciELO is a particularly useful tool for English-speaking researchers, since it provides a simple English-language interface for searching non-English content.  Professional patent searchers should have a long list of these types of resources handy (as well as subscription patent and NPL databases) during a comprehensive prior art search.
Do you know of other open-access non-patent literature resources focused on a specific region of the world?  Tell us about them in the comments!

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Patent Analysis from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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