Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society! is a new, peer-reviewed, open access journal, published by Taylor & Francis, and affiliated to the Asociación Latinoamericana de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (ESOCITE) and the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S). Tapuya is a project that seeks to challenge current science, technology and society (STS) scholarship while, at the same time, making visible STS research undertaken from Latin American as well as in other peripheral regions.
“Tapuya” has contradictory meanings. On the one hand, centuries ago it became the name of people from one of the indigenous tribes that occupied what is now Brazil; it refers to persons from the Tupi tribe. On the other hand, in the first centuries of the colonization of Brazil, the Tupi language became the local language of the colonizers. In this context, “Tapuya” was used by the Tupi to designate people who do not speak the Tupi language as the Tupi do. Finally, today’s anti-colonial theorists have used the purported identity of this group as cannibals to articulate their own practice of “swallowing” northern practices and transforming them into something distinctively Latin American. “Tapuya,” therefore, has relevance as a title on a number of levels.
The possibility of holding two contradictory definitions, the inevitable intellectual and political betrayals of translation, and the productive tensions of simultaneously being part and not part of a specific community, are all important concerns of this innovative new STS journal. This title for the Journal points toward its project of navigating through tumultuous and usually conflicted social and political currents, always on behalf of Latin American STS.
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.
1) History, aims, and scope
In May 2016, Editor-in-Chief Leandro Rodríguez Medina and Sandra Harding met at a workshop at the University of Brasilia on “Postcolonial and Latin American STS,” organized by Tiago Ribeiro Duarte and Luis Reyes-Galindo. Rodríguez Medina and Harding decided to explore the possibility of founding a journal that could productively intervene in the colonial institutional structure of periphery social sciences that Rodríguez Medina had documented in his Centers and Peripheries in Knowledge Production (2014 Rodríguez, Medina, and Leandro. 2014. Centers and Peripheries in Knowledge Production. New York: Routledge.) and expanded in his Brasilia presentation (submitted Rodríguez, Medina, and Leandro. Submitted. “Enacting Networks, Crossing Borders: A STS Perspective on the Internationalization of the Social Sciences in Mexico.” Engaging Science, Technology and Society.).
Following a tradition of focusing on centers and peripheries in science, Rodriguez Medina 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 Portuguese for other researchers. The former choice weakened social scientists’ home-based scientific community by taking talented researchers out of it. The latter insured 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 by a first-class English-language publisher, 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 Tapuya responds.
Rodríguez Medina and Harding spent several months interviewing editors and managing editors of other journals, securing the generous advice of a number of senior 4S and ESOCITE scholars, and making inquiries of leading English-language publishers. This is, we think, a proper occasion to thank them all for their encouraging reactions and insightful suggestions. After receiving enthusiastic responses from 4S, ESOCITE, and four such leading journal publishers, they decided to secure a publication contract with Taylor & Francis. Rodríguez Medina appointed three Associate Editors and a Book Review Editor to form an Editorial Team that could strategize effective plans for the “many moving pieces” of this journal founding process. This team does not intend to be a relevant sample of Latin American scholars. There is no way in which a group of six people can stand for the complex and diverse reality of this region’s scholarship. However, we do feel we are part of generation of scholars committed to make Latin American research as visible as possible, following the work of many senior scholars who have been fundamental in the institutionalization of the field, from the Rio Grande to Patagonia. Kreimer and Vessuri’s “Latin American science, technology, and society: A historical and reflexive approach,” in this volume, is an excellent summary of such a process and how it has reached its current state.
Paul Naish, who has been Tapuya’s Publisher and Acquisitions Editor, has generously agreed to remain our highly valued advisor at Taylor & Francis. It has been a continual pleasure to work with Naish on this project. Tapuya has a Managing Editor at Rodríguez Medina’s editorial office at University de las Américas Puebla, in Mexico, Luisa Grijalva Maza.
Taylor & Francis publishes over 2,500 journals, around 500 of which are in the social sciences. Consequently, the publisher has representatives at numerous international social science conferences. It also has a robust marketing program which will promote Tapuya in various media and in global contexts. Moreover, it has a growing footprint in Latin America in the form of a sales office in Mexico City and a Latin American authors’ lecture series. It understands Tapuya, as does its Senior Editorial Team, as a unique and distinctively powerful way of bringing in to international readership, debates and discussions the so far under-represented, but increasingly critically significant, diverse Latin American standpoints on STS issues.
Tapuya aims to bring together Latin American and international researchers to focus on issues such as center/periphery relations, the dynamics of scientific fields, the connections between science, technology and social inclusion, the production and uses of knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, the mobility of scientists and engineers, their ideas, and normative systems, the relationships between universities, private sectors and the state, and the roles of STS within diverse Latin American societies.
Thus the journal has three missions. One 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 the STS fields in the region, but also the policy foundations on which Latin Americans want to build their diverse but related futures. At the same time, secondly, 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 STS strategies in the global north have effects in Latin America and the global south, and how STS strategies in the global south have effects in the global north. Thus, in these several ways Tapuya 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. What does the production of knowledge look like anywhere around the globe from a Latin American standpoint?
All too often Latin American 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 Latin American Studies. Even postcolonial studies, focused primarily on the British Empire in Asia (and a little on French colonialism) tends to ignore the history and lasting effects in Europe, North America, and Latin America of Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the Americas. Or is “neglected” the wrong term? Is denial of the significance of coloniality in Latin America for continuing formations of modernity, democracy, “the international,” and social progress the underlying issue here? Such timely issues will be addressed from diverse Latin American perspectives.
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 Latin American 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 English-language 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.
2) The Senior Editorial Team, Editorial Board, and International Advisory Board
The Senior Editorial Team was appointed by the Editor in Chief beginning in late 2016. This group will always consist entirely of scholars based in Latin America, with the exception of one senior international 4S member, and possibly one or two of the Book Review Editors who, though focused on Latin American STS issues, have larger portfolios representing the journal’s missions, and for this reason are not themselves in Latin America. 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 Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Los Angeles, or from wherever else their research, policy, and other travels find them on Tuesdays with Skype possibilities: recently London, Paris, and Istanbul.
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 Tapuya’s several missions. Such processes will be assisted by Tapuya’s Managing Editor in the Editor in Chief’s office at Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) in Mexico. 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 2017, after the contract with Taylor & Francis was signed. Half of this group are and will always be Latin Americans, including one official ESOCITE representative. The other half are from outside Latin America. 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, Tapuya 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 STS scholars, half Latin Americans and half from around the globe. Also on this board are representatives of the major funders of Tapuya’s start-up: UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, its Latin American Institute, and its Luskin School of Public Affairs. 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 STS issues. This board will represent an ongoing and increasing Latin American and international group of scholars familiar with Tapuya’s missions and processes, and committed to transforming global STS 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.
3) Affiliations and sponsors
Tapuya is formally affiliated with both 4S and ESOCITE. Lucy Suchman and Kim Fortun, the current and incoming Presidents of 4S have both expressed enthusiasm for how the journal will assist 4S’s vigorous efforts to internationalize its institutions and their concerns and practices. Tapuya has an official affiliation with 4S. Rosalba Casas and Pablo Kreimer, respectively, the current President and Vice-President of ESOCITE, have secured the support of ESOCITE for Tapuya’s efforts to insert Latin American STS issues into global STS concerns and practices. This, too, is an official affiliation. As a node in a dense network of scholars and institutions, Tapuya benefits greatly from these affiliations and expect to contribute to strengthen the bonds between associations, their members, and the scholarship they produce.
Generous donations of start-up funds for Tapuya’s first five years are being provided by three University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) units, for which the journal is most grateful: Dean Marcello Suarez-Orozco of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, Dean Gary Segura of the UCLA Luskin College of Public Affairs, and Kevin Terraciano, Director of the UCLA Latin American Institute. Meanwhile, UDLAP is contributing resources to the Editor-in-Chief. Further donations from within the STS community have helped to support the launch of the Journal. Once again, this is a timely occasion to thank their support and generosity, without which Tapuya would still be a chain of emails full of good intentions. Taylor & Francis will contribute to the journal, from the above start-up funds, expenses to support the Managing Editor in the UDLAP Editor-in-Chief’s office. The journal has been incorporated in the US and has a US IRS tax-free status.
Such affiliations and their financial support are important because Latin American 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.
4) Tapuya editorial principles
Three editorial principles are especially important. First, Tapuya 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” 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative. 2002. Accessed 17 August 2017. http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/read)
Both Tapuya and Taylor & Francis 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), with whom Taylor & Francis have signed an agreement, will a have greatly reduced or no article publishing charge. More on waiver policies can be found here: https://authorservices.taylorandfrancis.com/apc-discounts-and-waivers/. 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, Tapuya 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 American English, for well-organized arguments, and they must meet the Routledge style guidelines. The publication in English in this journal is a challenging issue. We want to make clear that Tapuya does expect submissions from scholars who are not native English speakers; so the journal commits to embrace this diversity within the review process. Moreover, Tapuya welcomes submissions in which the linguistic dimension of science and technology and their studies can be critically assessed.
Finally, Tapuya 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.
5) Tapuya 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 Tapuya 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 Taylor & Francis website (journal homepage: www.tandfonline.com/ttap and submission site: www.edmgr.com/ttap), 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 Taylor & Francis production process with the recommendation of full, partial, or no waiver of APC.
After this point, fourth, Taylor & Francis 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 Taylor & Francis 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 Tapuya 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.
Leandro Rodríguez Medina, Editor-in-Chief
On behalf of the Editorial Team
- Budapest Open Access Initiative. 2002. Accessed 17 August 2017. http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/read
- Rodriguez-Medina, Leandro. 2014. Centers and Peripheries in Knowledge Production. New York: Routledge. [Google Scholar]
- Rodriguez-Medina, Leandro. Submitted. “Enacting Networks, Crossing Borders: A STS Perspective on the Internationalization of the Social Sciences in Mexico.” Engaging Science, Technology and Society.