REDES: an open access journal for the promotion of network analysis among Latin American researchers

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In book: Opening Up Education in South Mediterranean Countries: A Compendium of Case Studies and Interviews with Experts about Open Educational Practices and Resources ., Chapter: 8, Publisher: OpenMed, Editors: Katherine Wimpenny, Sarah Kate Merry, Gemma Tombs, Daniel Villar-Onrubia, pp.168-174
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Abstract
Eleven case study initiatives of current practices in Open Education (OE) globally, and particularly in the S-M region, are presented. The focus of the compendium is to generate a reliable and evidence-based body of knowledge on OEP in the region to inform the subsequent phases and work packages of the project OpenMed. OpenMed is an international cooperation project co-funded by the Erasmus + Capacity Building in HE programme of the European Union during the period 15 October 2015 - 14 October 2018 involving five partners from Europe and eight from South-Mediterranean (S-M) countries (Morocco, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan).
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Opening up Education in South-Mediterranean Countries
Revista RED (RED Journal)84
Completed by Isidro Maya Jariego, Daniel Holgado, and Fran Santolaya
of Universidad de Sevilla; and José Luis Molina of Universidad
Autónoma de Barcelona.
Case Study Overview
Type of initiative: Open access scientic journal.
Country: Spain.
Organization behind the initiative: GRAFO, Universidad Autónoma de
Barcelona and LRPC, Universidad de Sevilla.
Types of organization: Universities.
Who funds the initiative?: No funding: voluntary work by researchers
and electronic resources provided by the university.
History and Goals of the Initiative
REDES is an international journal that publishes research results in
the eld of social network analysis. It focuses especially on empirical
articles in Spanish and Portuguese on the structure of relationships, with
the application of techniques of analysis and visualization of networks.
Since its founding in 2002 it has published 30 numbers, grouped into 27
volumes. In 2005 the peer review system started. Currently it publishes
two issues a year, in June and December, and it has a multidisciplinary
editorial board of researchers from Europe and America.
In 1998 the XVIII Congress of the International Network for Social
Network Analysis was held in Sitges, Spain. At that meeting a small
group of Ibero-American researchers launched initiatives to promote
training in the techniques of network analysis among Spanish-speaking
84 http://revista-redes.rediris.es/
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A Compendium of Case Studies and Interviews with Experts about Open Education Practices and Resources
researchers. An e-mail distribution list, hosted on RedIRIS85, as well as
a website, were launched to exchange information, disseminate news,
and share training resources.
The journal REDES was launched four years later. Since its inception
the objectives of the journal have been (a) to promote academic
research on network analysis in Spanish, by extension in Latin
America, and (b) to become a space of scientic reference, following
the consolidation of the e-mail list REDES and the website REDES as
communication tools among Spanish and Latin-American researchers.
REDES is among the most relevant journals specializing in social
network analysis, along with Social Networks, Journal of Social
Structure and Connections. More recently there have been others linked
to the ‘network science’, such as Network Science, covering statistical
physics, simulation models and large networks databases. REDES is the
only one published in Spanish. It has a wide circulation, especially Latin
America. The website of the magazine has more than 1,000 visits a day,
over 2,000 subscribers who receive each volume by the e-newsletter,
and is supported by more than 800 subscribers of the REDES e-mail
list. The countries with the most visits to the journal are Spain, Mexico,
Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, and the United States.
Since its inception it has been based on the principles of open
knowledge and remote cooperative work. REDES publishes,
disseminates and promotes network analysis. In its publications
it combines quality empirical articles, translations of classics into
Spanish, and the results of the early research of young researchers.
REDES has been held in a community of practice that has endorsed
the words of Antonio Machado86: “In matters of culture and knowledge,
you only lose what is saved;
You earn only what is given.
85 RedIRIS is the Spanish network which interconnects the computing resourc-
es of Universities and research centres. It is funded by the National R+D+i
Plan of the Spanish Government.
86 Antonio Machado (1875-1939) was a Spanish poet, who was born in Seville.
He was part of the “Generation of 98” literary movement.
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Opening up Education in South-Mediterranean Countries
Figure 18: Screenshot of Revista Redes Homepage
Key Aspects of the Initiative
In the 2000s many academic journals began to develop an electronic
version. That entailed the installation of a web site, dening access
policies, adaptation of the publication format, and so on. All this
represented a transition to a new management model for the journal,
which affected the relationship with authors, readers and the academic
community overall; and often it was combined with the continuation of
the paper version. However, REDES has been an electronic journal
since its inception, which has not gone through this transition process
but was originally intended for digital media.
Development of Community
In fact, there was already a virtual Ibero-American community of
researchers around the REDES e-mail list before the launch of the
journal. The community of practice of academics and professionals
interested in social network analysis exchanged information and training
resources in this area. In the web REDES they were also gathering
and sharing workshops and training materials, translation of technical
articles, information on meetings and conferences, demonstrations of
software for analysis and visualization of networks, and so on. Thus the
e-mail list, with logistical support from the web REDES, functioned as
a learning community that facilitated the spread of network analysis in
Spanish.
The community of reference of the journal is organised into three
segments, corresponding to: the REDES e-mail list (800 subscribers),
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A Compendium of Case Studies and Interviews with Experts about Open Education Practices and Resources
users that receive a notication with each new volume published (more
than 2000 subscribers), and other readers who access the journal to
locate specic content. The community has a core-periphery structure:
it is organised around a very active and connected core, exchanging
content on network analysis; but it is open, in successive concentric
circles of activity, both to pre-doctoral researchers who are starting
in the area as well as to occasional readers. This community has
developed from the inside out, from the core to less active participants.
The leadership of the administrator of the REDES e-mail list was
instrumental to the constitution of an effective community of practice.
Especially in the early stages, the administrator provided content,
answered questions raised in the list, proposed training activities, and
had a central role in the exchanges that occurred in it. Maintaining
a minimum level of activity – at least one message a week – gave
continuity and promoted participation. Over time, the dynamics of
reciprocity and the generalised exchange model built a core of active
participants.
This background of open interaction, the sense of community, and
collaborative learning gave support to the launch of the journal REDES.
During the rst years it worked as an informal system of publication
of communications in congresses and meetings related to network
analysis (2002-2005). In 2005 the peer review system was implemented
and began to improve the quality standards of the publication. Since
then the journal has improved its publishing format, has implemented
the Open Journal System (OJS) for the management of manuscripts,
and has been incorporated into scientic databases, improving the
indicators of impact. In the period 2013-2016 it received 150 original
manuscripts. The journal receives on average 21.43 original articles
per semester. In the last 7 numbers, which corresponds to a range of
two and a half years, the rejection rate was 31.7%.
Promion of Analytical Techniques
The magazine is fullling the role of diffusing social network analysis
in the Latin American academic community. The translation of high
impact scientic articles expands the potential audience of recent
research and facilitates the socialisation of researchers that are
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Opening up Education in South-Mediterranean Countries
introduced to the area. At the same time, REDES is a publishing
medium for junior researchers. Thus it maintains its original purposes
of the promotion of network analysis in Spanish. The audience of the
journal has been dened by the fact that the publication is in Spanish,
and complementarily in Portuguese. It also has an international
editorial team, most of them from Latin America. One of the incentives
to participate in REDES has been learning the techniques for relational
data analysis. Software analysis and visualisation of networks are
complex. The conceptual basis of the indicators of centrality and
structural properties require considerable time for familiarisation and
training. The web REDES has provided educational materials to learn
the techniques. The e-mail list, meanwhile, has served as a guide for
novice researchers, solving the doubts that arise during the research
process and data analysis.
Voluntary Work
From an organisational point of view, the journal has been based
on voluntary work. Although it has some connection with the
International Network for Social Network Analysis – many of the
editorial board members are part of this scientic association – it
has worked independently and autonomously since its foundation.
In fact, somehow the magazine has served as a bridge, connecting
the community of Latin American researchers with the international
community. Communication through the list REDES has facilitated the
development of weak ties and alliances of academic collaboration.
The list REDES came before the boom of Internet forums and was
one of the pioneers in Spanish-speaking academia through RedIRIS.
Creative Commons
The texts published in the journal are subject to a CC license 4.0.
Anyone can copy, distribute, transmit, make derivative works and
commercial use; the only requirement is to give credit to the original
material (authorship, journal name, publisher) in the manner specied
by the author or by the journal. Authors retain copyright and recognition
of authorship. The full license is available online.87
87 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
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A Compendium of Case Studies and Interviews with Experts about Open Education Practices and Resources
Lessons Learned and Transferability Opportunities
The REDES journal has functioned as an OER for the community of
Latin American researchers interested in social network analysis. The
case illustrates the combination of an email list, a web of OER, and
an open access scientic journal to support a collaborative learning
community. In the collective creation of knowledge, in a bottom-up
process, note the following factors:
1. The journal originates in the digital environment and is based on
the prior existence of a virtual community of practice of researchers.
2. The community of practice benets from an open and active
leadership, which promotes the dynamics of exchange and
reciprocity among participants.
3. The initiative is based on voluntary work, as well as collaborative
networks of weak ties, with a low institutional prole and a diffuse
connection with the International Network for Social Network
Analysis.
4. REDES is an open community, with very active members that
form a core-periphery structure, which leads to the development
of strong relationships and a strong sense of community.
5. Incentives for participation are organised around learning
techniques of data analysis, the translation of classics of network
analysis and other elements of scientic legitimacy.
6. REDES is a bridge of Latin American researchers with the
international community.
In the case of the journal REDES we have illustrated that, in the
electronic media, audience and impact of the contents do not depend
only on the number of followers but also on the interaction dynamics
and structure of relationships in the community of practice. Open
access facilitates the dissemination of research. Below we summarise
the above key issues.
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Opening up Education in South-Mediterranean Countries
Table 5: Lessons learned from Revista Redes
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