Conversations Around Open Access: Dr. Colman-Lerner, University of La Plata, Argentina

Dr. Jorge Colman-Lerner, Professor of Fluid Dynamics and Aerodynamics, Editor for "Wind Tunnels and Experimental Fluid Dynamics"

Dr. Jorge Colman-Lerner is a professor of Fluid Dynamics and Aerodynamics at the Engineering Faculty, National University of La Plata, Argentina. An author with a long list of publications behind him, and a director of many projects in Argentina and one in Brazil, is, as of recently, an editor (in collaboration with Dr. Ulfilas Boldes) of an open access book, “Wind Tunnels and Experimental Fluid Dynamics Research”, published by InTech. He answered our questions about Open Access in Argentina.

1.) The National University of La Plata is one of the most important Argentine national universities with more than 90,000 regular students and nearly 10,000 teaching staff. Are the professors, librarians and students aware of the open access movement and if so, which of the three, would you say, see it as the most valuable for their own needs?

I guess that those mostly aware of the open access movement are, university teachers. Not a high percentage of them, however, mainly teachers that also do research. Of our Engineering Faculty teaching staff, only 40% perform research activities in all fields such as materials, composites, fluid dynamics, electronics, wind engineering, chemical engineering, environmental impact, pollutant dispersion in air, high voltage systems, etc. The authorities of my Faculty will prepare a conference for the book presentation, published by InTech and edited by Boldes and I, to researchers, engineers, etc., planned for the first week of October.

2.) Last year, Argentine Ministry of Science and Technology organized the Open Access Week event in Buenos Aires, presenting its experiences with open access in Argentina. Would you say that there are more good or bad experiences piling up? Will you, or the University, participate in the Open Access Week 2011 event?

I’m surprised to hear about the Open Access Week event prepared by our Ministry of Science and Technology. That is not unusual, because the “communication” between high level authorities and researchers, in most cases, is not good. Of course, if I could, I would wish to participate in such an event.

3.) Are you experiencing a crisis with the subscriptions to scientific journals at the University? Are your librarians in any way presenting the institutional repositories to your students?

Yes, we are experiencing a crisis regarding subscriptions to scientific journals. Our state office of Science and Technology is making a big effort to pay subscriptions, but of course, this is not enough. Open Access system could be a valuable help on propagating knowledge.

4.)    According to OpenDOAR, UNLP owns a digital home, Memoria Academica for its research output and the learning materials of the institution. Does the faculty find this useful, did you find it useful? Is it an advantage and how can you make it even more advantageous?

Yes, I know of such a web page. Nevertheless, our Science & Technology system requires from the researchers to publish in international journals, congresses, etc. In other words, the research quality of any teacher/researcher is measured, by its own faculty and university, by the papers published in international journals, congresses, or in books as book chapters, with Open Access publishers, human resources formation, etc.

5.) What was your experience of publishing with InTech and would you recommend it to your colleagues or your students, the future researchers of Argentina? Any pros and cons to the traditional publishing method that you would like to share with our readers?

My experience of publishing with InTech is valuable and, of course, I would highly recommend it to my colleagues. Nevertheless, in most cases, it is not easy, for the authors, to find funds to pay for the articles.

6.) Do your colleagues tend to choose to publish open access? What is the most common reason for their choice of publisher? Can you find enough funds to publish your research and are the funding bodies supportive of open access?

Many of my colleagues wish to publish open access, but unfortunately the institutions where they work do not have, in general, funds to pay for that. Boldes and myself were lucky to achieve our status as editors, due of course, to our extensive curricula, but not all of the researchers are in the same situation.

7.) You are already working on a new open access project and editing your second book to be published by InTech, on Aerodynamics. Do you believe that by now you have become an open access advocate?

Effectively, Boldes and I are starting a new open access book project titled “Aerodynamics” and, of course, we are becoming advocates of open access publishing.

8.) Did you browse through other book titles available on our reading platform? Would you recommend the collection to your students?

I browsed your web page and found some books related to wind energy, computational fluid dynamics, etc. Those are very interesting titles that I suggested to my students.

9.) Do you think that exposing the university’s intellectual creation proves a direct benefit for the general progress of science in Argentina? Is it important on a national level, that researchers at the University can freely access their own output? Do students tend to leave Argentina after they have finished college?

I guess that exposing our intellectual creation will be useful for the science progress, not only in Argentina but across the globe. Precisely, the first contact from InTech was related to one of our published papers. In this sense, it’s very important that Argentinian researchers can have free access to their published work. Many of our students tend to obtain fellowships, outside of the country, to enhance their university formation (master studies, PhD studies, etc.) but only a few wish to emigrate. The major part wishes to return to Argentina.

1o.) Do you consider publishing your work with an open access publisher a success? Why? What is the audience that you wish to reach? Do you have any further plans for your published chapter “Low Speed Turbulent Boundary Layer Wind Tunnels”? Why would you say it is important that it reaches the widest number of readers possible?

I’m convinced that publishing my work with an open access publisher is a success, mainly due to the book style, and also because many researchers from everywhere around the world, were confident about us when sending their contributions. Again, regarding the future dissertation that Boldes and I will give on the book, in a conference procedure, many people will gain insight to our work and at the same time they will find out how it is related to the similar work performed by other researchers across the globe.

Finally, we thank you for actively participating in our project and hopefully, publishing with InTech will continue to be a valuable experience and by and by, you will grow an even more fervent advocate of the Open Access movement.

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3 Responses to Conversations Around Open Access: Dr. Colman-Lerner, University of La Plata, Argentina

  1. Dear Dr. Colman-Lerner,

    Please visit my website: http://www.georgejandieri.ge for our future collaboration.

    Yours faithfully,
    Prof. George Jandieri

  2. I like to inform you that the University of La Plata has its own institutional repository that works under Open Access entirely. It’s called SeDiCI (Servicio de Difusión de la Creación Intelectual) and it contains all the thesis, works, papers, etc. from all the students, teachers and researchers from all its faculties and not only one, such as Memoria Academica. Please, visit http://sedici.unlp.edu.ar
    Thank you.

    Analia Pinto
    UNLP – SeDiCI

  3. Thank you, Analía, this is a valuable addition to the text of the interview.

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