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On Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society and the STS publishing in landscape LATAM in

Written by Leandro Rodriguez Medina, Founding Editor-in-Chief, 2017-2022 Director, Center for the Study of Science, Technology and Society, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Chile

On Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society and the STS publishing in landscape LATAM    in

A promising present

As founding editor, the news came to me as a scoop in the middle of last year: Tapuya had won the 2023 Infrastructure Award from the Society for Social Studies of Science. The Infrastructure Prize Committee has noted: 

Launched in 2018, Tapuya has impressively changed the publishing landscape through its ethos of accessibility and epistemic collaboration. In addition to being open access, Tapuya has shifted the digital infrastructure of Taylor and Francis' submission platforms. The platform now allows for abstracts in three or more languages and also includes a new category of incomplete rather than rejection, to provide a clearer assessment for authors whose articles may not have the required level of English proficiency for publication. Tapuya's efforts to build epistemic communities, especially across the Global South, is reflected in their innovative processes of peer-review, editorial collaborations and pedagogical commitments to new generations of Latin American and international scholars, and reviews of texts produced in different languages. We congratulate Tapuya on their outstanding achievements that are actively shifting landscapes of knowledge production.

But what is Tapuya? Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society is an open access, English-language academic journal published by Taylor & Francis with editorial offices in Latin America. It appeared in 2017 and is affiliated with the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and the Latin American Association for Social Studies of Science and Technology (ESOCITE). The journal attracts papers from all over the world, with stable submissions from the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Chile, France, and Germany to name a few.  Tapuya solicits peer review from colleagues in Latin America (57%) and the rest of the world (43%). As a policy, this distinguishes the journal, which uses peer review as a bridge between epistemic communities. In this way, authors encounter forms of evaluation and regional literature that would otherwise be impossible.

Over the cumulative period from 2020 to 2023, Tapuya has demonstrated a remarkable surge in user engagement, evidenced by a substantial increase in download volumes. Starting with 46,520 downloads in 2020, the application experienced notable growth, reaching 70,794 in 2021, 90,377 in 2022, and peaking at an impressive 101,656 downloads in 2023 (+12% from 2022). This consistent four-year trend underscores Tapuya's sustained expansion of its user base, affirming its escalating appeal and impactful presence in the academic space. Despite being a Latin American publication, it attracts strong attention in North America (30% of article downloads) and Europe (24% of article downloads). In terms of countries, the USA tops (with more than 45,000 downloads) the list of countries in which our articles have been downloaded. Other countries in the global North, such as the UK, Canada and Germany, also appear in the top 10. In 2023, the institutions that have downloaded the most articles from Tapuya include universities in Mexico, the USA, Colombia, Chile, the UK and the Netherlands. Thus, in just a few years, Tapuya has become an increasingly heard Latin American voice in the global North.

Following good practice from other journals in the field and showing commendable commitment from the editorial team, the journal has managed to ensure that, on average, only 80 days (2023) elapse between the time an article is submitted and the time it appears online on the T&F website. This is a remarkably short period for a journal of Tapuya's prestige in the STS field.

In terms of citations, Tapuya has a CiteScore (Scopus) of 1.5 in 2022 and has risen to 1.7 in 2023 (updated to January 2024). This trend is increasing since it was indexed. In 2019 the CiteScore was 0.3; in 2020 it was 0.6; in 2021 it was 1.3. On Google Scholar, Tapuya got 421 citations in 2023 and 1,162 since it was launched in 2017. In addition, Tapuya has already been accepted into the Emerging Sources Citation Index of Web of Science in June 2023. Clarivate has already incorporated all articles from 2021 onwards into the database, which will be sufficient for Tapuya to achieve an Impact Factor in 2023 (to be announced in the summer of 2024). The citations, on the other hand, show Tapuya's impact in the global North, with the United Kingdom and the United States topping the list of countries that have cited the most articles in the journal. Brazil, Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Chile, Spain and Argentina complete the top 10. Authors' satisfaction with the process of publishing in Tapuya (9.5) and peer review of the publication (9.3) indicates high levels of recognition of the editorial work. This is particularly important because, in more than one sense, Tapuya is being a learning space for new generations of STS academics in the region - and beyond. That satisfaction levels are so high fills us with pride and invites us to continue this path.

A (slightly) uncertain future

It would be unthinkable that Tapuya could remain insulated from the uncertainties that characterize today's world. Wars, recessions, disruptive technologies and climate change present challenges to all institutions and initiatives, and our journal is no exception. As the past shapes the present and the future, we feel confident about what lies ahead. We have done what had to be done to have an internationally recognized Latin American journal in the STS publishing landscape today. Our articles and clusters have brought new themes and approaches to the debates. We’re indexed by Clarivate’s Web of Science and Scopus and got the 2023 Infrastructure Award from 4S. Above all, the scholarship published shows how different epistemic communities, from the global North and South, intersect in everyday editorial and authorial practices. Our authors and reviewers continue to produce a fruitful and innovative dialogue that is no less difficult and frictionless, but who said that knowledge does not involve such encounters? 

At the same time, and as the journal has grown and inserted itself into an ecology of publications that includes journals with long histories and global recognition, the challenges have multiplied. To be able to offer the careful and encouraging work that is done from the editorial office requires time, attention, intellectual commitment, and financial resources. Our institutional partnerships have proved key to this. From 2018 when three UCLA units gave us start-up funds that partially sustained the journal for five years, to today, when the Latin American Institute and the Luskin School of Public Affairs have approved an extraordinary additional grant for 2024, those of us who make Tapuya know of the UCLA's generosity and have honored it by doing our best. Now, as before, we face the challenges of publishing cutting-edge knowledge with the confidence that, if we do it together, if we collaborate, if we undertake the work of epistemic decentralization that these times demand of us, we will be able to continue building Tapuya with the same rigor and the same dedication. We thank our allies at the University of California Los Angeles for this support and invite them to continue generating the conditions that allow thinking from the margins to travel to the North and other Souths. Because thinking or speaking from the margin is, of course, a place of enunciation, as post-colonialists have taught, but also a place where epistemic infrastructures must emerge and offer spaces for these voices and thoughts.