Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, June 05, 2008

OA mandate at the U of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki has adopted an OA mandate.  From the English version of the policy statement:

...Together with the Finnish Council of University Rectors, the University of Helsinki has signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities on 23rd May 2006. The goals of the University of Helsinki are

  • To support open access to research results
  • To make results of publicly funded research openly accessible online to anyone interested
  • To encourage other funding bodies as well to require research results funded by them be made public
  • To increase the visibility, use and impact of research publications of the University of Helsinki by providing open access through the University’s own repository
  • To make its repository and publication records openly available online and available for linkage to other repositories internationally
  • To ease the reviewing of research results with open access research publications

Open access to research publications at the University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki requires that researchers working at the University deposit copies of their research articles published in academic research journals in the open repository of the University....

The depositing obligation does not apply to monographs.

This decision applies to articles approved for publication from 1st January 2010 onwards. The University of Helsinki recommends the depositing of articles in the repository of the University also for articles published before this date.

In addition to the research articles referred to in this decision, other kinds of publications such as popular articles, other published texts, serial publications of University departments, teaching material and, publishing contracts permitting, monographs may be stored in the open repository of the University of Helsinki.

The University of Helsinki recommends that when publishing articles, researchers working at the University favour publication channels with open access policies such as the open access journals in each discipline and open access serial publications. In addition, it is possible to store a published research article following the established norms of the discipline in question in a discipline-specific, open repository (e.g., ArXiv for physicists).

Further information and more detailed instructions are available in Appendix 1.

Open availability of research results as part of the full cost of research

The University is changing over to a full cost model in research funding. All costs of a research project must be incorporated in the research funding, including publication costs such as author fees for open access journals....

Appendix 1. The repository policy of the University of Helsinki repository...

1. Researchers working at the University of Helsinki, other University personnel and persons under their authorisation may deposit research articles in the open repository of the University of Helsinki (hereafter "the repository")....

3. The University of Helsinki requires that researchers working at the University seek to maintain the right to parallel deposit of their article in the open repository of the University of Helsinki when signing a publication contract for the article. At the moment, most academic publishers allow the deposit of the article in the open repository of the research organisation.

4. Researchers must keep a final published version of the article or a copy of the file accepted for publication for the repository....

7. An article under the depositing obligation must be submitted to the administrator as soon as it has been published....The article will be openly accessible online only after the embargo period stipulated by the publisher or the funding body has expired....

8. The final or published article or the version accepted for publishing will be primarily deposited in the repository....If the repository policy of the publisher or the discipline requires something else, a different version of the article may be deposited (e.g., preprint, draft)....

There are a few extra details in today's announcement:

...[The policy was adopted] by a unanimous decision of the university management team the University of Helsinki....

University of Helsinki is the first university in Finland to mandate open access self-archiving of its scholarly output. With its more than 38 000 students and nearly 8000 employees University of Helsinki is the biggest multidisciplinary institution of higher education and research in the country....


  • This is an excellent policy.  I applaud its mandatory language; the dual deposit/release strategy or what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access (requiring deposit immediately upon acceptance for publication but permitting a delay in the OA release to suit publisher embargoes); the support for parallel deposits in disciplinary repositories; the exemption for monographs; the willingness to accept non-mandatory deposits (e.g. data files, monographs) in the repository; the apparent willingness to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals, at least for recipients of university research grants; and the decision to encourage but not require submission to OA journals.
  • Faculty are required to deposit articles and also required to seek permission to deposit articles.  So far, so good.  But what happens when they can't obtain permission?  At the NIH and Wellcome Trust, authors in that position must look for another publisher.  At Harvard, authors may request an opt-out for that article.  But at Helsinki?
  • I understand why the policy might have an effective date some time after the date of adoption, to give faculty and repository managers time to prepare.  But does this preparation require 18 months?

Update. Also see the university's English-language announcement, June 11, 2008.