University of Texas at Arlington

Mavs Open Press publishes first digital, open access volume of PALARA

Cover of PALARA, volume 21, Fall 2017
Mavs Open Press publishes first digital, open access volume of PALARA

The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries’ Mavs Open Press recently published volume 21 of the Publication of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association (PALARA). This two-decade-old journal was previously only available in print by subscription. 

“As co-editor, I wanted to continue the journal’s stellar publication reputation and increase the number of persons who have access to scholarly material written about Afro-Latin American literature and culture,” said Dr. Sonja Watson. “In addition, I wanted to decrease the cost of publication of the journal without jeopardizing its scholarly reputation. Thus, Mavs Open Press was a way to accomplish both missions.”
Dr. Watson and Dr. Dorothy Mosby became PALARA’s co-editors in 2017. Dr. Watson is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts, Director of the Women's & Gender Studies Program, and Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Dorothy Mosby is Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Spanish at Mount Holyoke College.

Drs. Watson and Mosby worked with staff at UTA Libraries to bring this first digital, open access volume of PALARA to fruition. Not only is this issue available digitally, UTA Libraries staff are also digitizing all 20 back issues of the journal, so that the entire backfile will soon be available to all scholars around the globe. 

“The Mavs Open Press is an outgrowth of the UTA Libraries’ strategic vision to catalyze the academic and professional success of UTA students and faculty, which mirrors the University’s guiding aspiration to enhance visibility and impact through global engagement,” said Jodie Bailey, UTA Libraries’ Director of Publishing. “PALARA is an example of how faculty collaborations with Mavs Open Press can expose and highlight significant, unique scholarship, and we hope to engender similar collaborations in the future.”

Dr. Watson believes that moving from print to electronic publishing and from subscription-funded to open access will have a huge impact on the global access to material published in the journal. 

“The journal already has a strong national and international reputation in the field. Making it open access will only increase the number of scholars, students, and researchers who have access to the material,” she said. “In addition, UTA Libraries has digitized past issues, which will bring to the forefront scholarship published since the nineties in the field of Afro-Latin American Studies. This really excites me as a researcher and professor.”

PALARA was established in 1997 as a multilingual, multidisciplinary journal devoted to the study of the African diaspora in the Americas. The journal’s mission was to center scholarship on the African diaspora in the Americas and creative works by Afro-descendant writers. As the official journal of the Afro-Latin/American Research Association, PALARA was and continues to be a pioneer in the field of Afro-Latin American and African diaspora studies.  The online issue can be viewed at

Jody Bailey