Assessing Quality Variations in Early Career Researchers’ Data Management Plans

Author : Jukka Rantasaari

This paper aims to better understand early career researchers’ (ECRs’) research data management (RDM) competencies by assessing the contents and quality of data management plans (DMPs) developed during a multi-stakeholder RDM course. We also aim to identify differences between DMPs in relation to several background variables (e.g., discipline, course track).

The Basics of Research Data Management (BRDM) course has been held in two multi-faculty, research-intensive universities in Finland since 2020. In this study, 223 ECRs’ DMPs created in the BRDM of 2020 – 2022 were assessed, using the recommendations and criteria of the Finnish DMP Evaluation Guide + General Finnish DMP Guidance (FDEG).

The median quality of DMPs appeared to be satisfactory. The differences in rating according to FDEG’s three-point performance criteria were statistically insignificant between DMPs developed in separate years, course tracks or disciplines. However, using content analysis, differences were found between disciplines or course tracks regarding DMP’s key characteristics such as sharing, storing, and preserving data.

DMPs that contained a data table (DtDMPs) also differed highly significantly from prose DMPs. DtDMPs better acknowledged the data handling needs of different data types and improved the overall quality of a DMP.

The results illustrated that the ECRs had learned the basic RDM competencies and grasped their significance to the integrity, reliability, and reusability of data. However, more focused, further training to reach the advanced competency is needed, especially in areas of handling and sharing personal data, legal issues, long-term preserving, and funders’ data policies.

Equally important to the cultural change when RDM is an organic part of the research practices is to merge research support services, processes, and infrastructure into the research projects’ processes. Additionally, incentives are needed for sharing and reusing data.

URL : Assessing Quality Variations in Early Career Researchers’ Data Management Plans


Impact and visibility of Norwegian, Finnish and Spanish journals in the fields of humanities

Authors : Elías Sanz-Casado, Daniela De Filippo, Rafael Aleixandre Benavent, Vidar Røeggen, Janne Pölönen

This article analyses the impact and visibility of scholarly journals in the humanities that are publishing in the national languages in Finland, Norway and Spain. Three types of publishers are considered: commercial publishers, scholarly society as publisher, and research organizations as publishers.

Indicators of visibility and impact were obtained from Web of Science, SCOPUS, Google Metrics, Scimago Journal Rank and Journal Citation Report.

The findings compiled show that in Spain the categories “History and Archaeology” and “Language and Literature” account for almost 70% of the journals analysed, while the other countries offer a more homogeneous distribution.

In Finland, the scholarly society publisher is predominant, in Spain, research organization as publishers, mostly universities, have a greater weighting, while in Norway, the commercial publishers take centre stage.

The results show that journals from Finland and Norway will have reduced possibilities in terms of impact and visibility, since the vernacular language appeals to a smaller readership. Conversely, the Spanish journals are more attractive for indexing in commercial databases. Distribution in open access ranges from 64 to 70% in Norwegian and Finish journals, and to 91% in Spanish journals.

The existence of DOI range from 31 to 41% in Nordic journals to 60% in Spanish journals and has a more widespread bearing on the citations received in all three countries (journals with DOI and open access are cited more frequently).

URL : Impact and visibility of Norwegian, Finnish and Spanish journals in the fields of humanities


Who are the users of national open access journals? The case of the Finnish platform

Authors : Janne Pölönen, Sami Syrjämäki, Antti-Jussi Nygård, Björn Hammarfelt

In this paper we study the diversity of users of open access articles on the Finnish platform. This platform hosts around hundred open access journals from Finland publishing in different fields and mainly Finnish and English languages.

The study is based on an online survey, conducted on 48 journals during Spring 2020, in which visitors were asked to indicate their background and allow their location and download behaviour be tracked. Among 668 survey participants, the two largest groups were students (40%) and researchers (36%), followed by private citizens (8%), other experts (7%) and teachers (5%).

Other identified user categories include journalists, civil servants, entrepreneurs and politicians. While new publications attract a considerable share of the views, there is still a relatively large interest, especially among students, in older materials.

Our findings indicate that Finnish language publications are particularly important for reaching students, citizens, experts and politicians. Thus, open access to publications in national languages is vital for the local relevance and outreach of research.

URL : Who are the users of national open access journals? The case of the Finnish platform


Science communicators intimidated: researchers’ freedom of expression and the rise of authoritarian populism

Authors : Esa Valiverronen, Sampsa Saikkonen

In this article, we explore scientists’ freedom of expression in the context of authoritarian populism. Our particular case for this analysis is Finland, where the right-wing populist Finns Party entered the government for the first time in 2015.

More recently, after leaving the government in 2017, the party has been the most popular party in opinion polls in 2021. We illustrate the current threats to Finnish researchers’ freedom of expression using their responses on three surveys, made in 2015, 2017 and 2019. We focus on politically motivated disparagement of scientists and experts, and the scientists’ experiences with online hate and aggressive feedback.

Further, we relate these findings to the recent studies on authoritarian populism and science-related populism. We argue that this development may affect researchers’ readiness to communicate their research and expertise in public.

URL : Science communicators intimidated: researchers’ freedom of expression and the rise of authoritarian populism


Open access at the national level: A comprehensive analysis of publications by Finnish researchers

Authors : Janne Pölönen, Mikael Laakso, Raf Guns, Emanuel Kulczycki, Gunnar Sivertsen

Open access (OA) has mostly been studied by relying on publication data from selective international databases, notably Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus.

The aim of our study is to show that it is possible to achieve a national estimate of the number and share of OA based on institutional publication data providing a comprehensive coverage of the peer-reviewed outputs across fields, publication types, and languages.

Our data consists of 48,177 journal, conference, and book publications from 14 Finnish universities in 2016–2017, including information about OA status, as self-reported by researchers and validated by data-collection personnel through their Current Research Information System (CRIS).

We investigate the WoS, Scopus, and DOI coverage, as well as the share of OA outputs between different fields, publication types, languages, OA mechanisms (gold, hybrid, and green), and OA information sources (DOAJ, Bielefeld list, and Sherpa/Romeo).

We also estimate the role of the largest international commercial publishers compared to the not-for-profit Finnish national publishers of journals and books.

We conclude that institutional data, integrated at national and international level, provides one of the building blocks of a large-scale data infrastructure needed for comprehensive assessment and monitoring of OA across countries, for example at the European level.


The role of learned societies in national scholarly publishing

Authors : Elina Late, Laura Korkeamäki, Janne Pölönen, Sami Syrjämäki

This study examines the role of learned societies as publishers in Finland based on bibliographic information from two Finnish databases. We studied the share of learned societies’ peer‐reviewed publication channels (serials with ISSNs and book publishers with distinct ISBN roots) and outputs (journal articles, conference articles, book articles, and monographs) in Finland.

We also studied the share of learned societies’ open access (OA) publications. In 2018, there were 402 peer‐reviewed publication channels in Finland. In 2011–2017, the number of peer‐reviewed publications from scholars working in Finnish universities and published in Finland was 17,724.

Learned societies publish around 70% of these channels and publications, mostly in the fields of humanities and social sciences. Learned societies in Finland focus on journal publishing, whereas university presses and commercial publishers focus on book publishing. In 2016–2017, 38.4% of the learned societies’ outputs were OA.

This study concludes that Finnish learned societies play an integral part in national scholarly publishing. They play an especially important role in journal publishing, as commercial publishers produce only 2.6% of Finnish journals and book series, and only 1.4% of the journal articles from scholars working in Finnish universities.


Reading practices in scholarly work: from articles and books to blogs

Authors : Elina Late, Carol Tenopir, Sanna Talja, Lisa Christian

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of reading in scholarly work among academics in Finland. This study analyzes readings from a variety of publication types including books, conference proceedings, research reports, magazines, newspapers, blogs, non-fiction and fiction.

An online survey was developed and distributed in Finland in 2016–2017 (n=528). Participants were asked their finding and use of scholarly information resources of all types.

Scholars read from a variety of publications. Different types of publications are read and used differently. Reading also varies between disciplines, ranks, work responsibilities and type of research performed.

Research limitations/implications

The study was a nationwide study of researchers in Finland; therefore, all findings are within the context of researchers in a single country. All results are self-reported; therefore, the authors assume but cannot be sure that respondents accurately recollect the specifics of their use of scholarly information.

The results of this study are relevant to publishers, research librarians, editors and others who serve consumers of scholarly information resources, design information products and services for those scholars, and seek to better understand the information needs and use of a variety of types of scholarly publications.

This study replicates previous studies in a variety of countries and provides a more up-to-date and single-country contextualized overview of how researchers find and use scholarly information in their work.