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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Winter 2021

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Neff, Mark W.

Second Advisor

Paci-Green, Rebekah

Third Advisor

Nivert, Marcelo


As a growing body of literature suggests, to resolve current complex socioenvironmental problems such as climate change, deforestation, and the health crises unraveled by Covid-19 pandemic, requires scientific engagement across disciplines and beyond academia. Through the analysis of written policy documents and 70 semi-structured interviews with researchers in Brazil and Peru, this thesis investigates the Brazilian and Peruvian S&T governance models and policies, looking specifically at academic publication rewards, incentives and requirements, how ecologists and environmental researchers interact with such policies and whether they impact researchers’ ability to do engaged work.

While Peru has just started the process of accrediting its universities and creating requirements for individuals and institutions through the New University Law, Brazil has become the most academically productive country in Latin America, attributing its success, in parts, to the efforts of CAPES’ (Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) robust Graduate Program Triennial Evaluation System. Both the New University Law and CAPES’ Triennial Evaluation rely heavily on international publication point systems to qualify what counts as “good science” with a series of implications to researchers and knowledge-production dynamics regionally, within each country, as well as in Latin America at large.

One of the main conclusions of this study is that the colonial and white supremacist legacy of academia is translated into National science policies that obsess over the written word and quantification methods. Such policies incentivize alienated production of papers – mostly written in English and often protected by paywals – which are predominantly read and filtered as "relevant" or "irrelevant" by the standards Global North academics and international publishing corporations, at the expense of local knowledge and scientific sovereignty. That dynamic also contributes to aggravating internal disparities within national boundaries, as researchers in both the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon report to be seen as an object of science instead of political and scientific agents. This comparative study hopes to provide critical insights to help strengthen and develop more equitable knowledge production systems in Brazil and Peru that take into account regional idiosyncrasies as well as local knowledge systems and expertise.




science policies, knowledge production, Amazon, Peru, Brazil


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Capes (Organization : Brazil); Conselho Nacional de Desenvovimento Cientifico e Tecnologico

Subject – LCSH

Science and state--Peru; Science and state--Brazil; Science publishing--Peru; Science publishing--Brazil; Ecology--Reserch

Geographic Coverage

Peru; Brazil




masters theses




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