Beyond borders: Examining the role of national learned societies in the social sciences and humanities

Authors : Elina LateRaf GunsJanne PölönenJadranka StojanovskiMimi UrbancMichael Ochsner

The aim of this paper is to examine the status of national learned societies in social sciences and humanities (SSH) in Europe. Previous research shows that learned societies serve diverse roles in higher education and suggests that national societies come under pressure given different developments, such as internationalization or open science adoption.

We investigate a comprehensive range of aspects within national learned societies: primary goals, activities, internationalization, organization, funding, membership, and recent changes, addressing potential pressures arising from them. Using a cross-national survey involving 194 learned societies across eight European countries, we study: (a) do the previous findings from individual countries or small selections of national societies hold for a broad range of learned societies in SSH across Europe, and (b) are national learned societies coming under pressure due to internationalization and commercialization processes?

Our findings confirm previous results from single countries and single disciplines and expand them as our results show that national learned societies in SSH play an important role in Europe in promoting multilingualism in science, collaborating with many stakeholders, and fostering interdisciplinarity. Contrary to previous research, most SSH societies in our study have not undergone significant changes in the past 5 years, challenging expectations of their declining role.

URL : Beyond borders: Examining the role of national learned societies in the social sciences and humanities


Putting FAIR principles in the context of research information: FAIRness for CRIS and CRIS for FAIRness

Authors : Otmane Azeroual, Joachim Schöpfel, Janne Pölönen, Anastasija Nikiforova

Digitization in the research domain refers to the increasing integration and analysis of research information in the process of research data management. However, it is not clear whether it is used and, more importantly, whether the data are of sufficient quality, and value and knowledge could be extracted from them.

FAIR principles (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, Reusability) represent a promising asset to achieve this. Since their publication, they have rapidly proliferated and have become part of (inter-)national research funding programs.

A special feature of the FAIR principles is the emphasis on the legibility, readability, and understandability of data. At the same time, they pose a prerequisite for data for their reliability, trustworthiness, and quality. In this sense, the importance of applying FAIR principles to research information and respective systems such as Current Research Information Systems (CRIS), which is an underrepresented subject for research, is the subject of the paper.

Supporting the call for the need for a ”one-stop-shop and register-onceuse-many approach”, we argue that CRIS is a key component of the research infrastructure landscape, directly targeted and enabled by operational application and the promotion of FAIR principles.

We hypothesize that the improvement of FAIRness is a bidirectional process, where CRIS promotes FAIRness of data and infrastructures, and FAIR principles push further improvements to the underlying CRIS.


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


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.