This January, the University of Helsinki passed the audit of its quality management system. In its report, the audit team appointed by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) analysed the University’s strengths and development areas.
The team, led by Professor Bernard Coulie, congratulated the University on its achievements in making knowledge and data openly available, but noted that there is room for further development in the transition to a culture of open science and research.
Helsinki University Library operates the University of Helsinki Open Access Hub. Our goal is for researchers to be able to concentrate on their core duties and meet the requirements for openness with as little effort as possible. The Open Access Hub is based on publishing platforms (Helsinki University Press, Helda Open Books, Editori), contemporary commentary on trends in open science and research (Think Open blog) and practical support for open access publishing (funding for article processing charges, self-archiving and publishing advice).
Metrics and visibility services as well as data management support are closely integrated into the Open Access Hub. In the future, the library will enhance, in particular, the visibility of research conducted at the University, further develop the impact assessment of scholarly publishing, and ensure the storage of the University’s data.
As a service provider, the library must analyse the quality of its operations even when not preparing for an audit. The library director, or the university librarian, must also remain alert and attentive. In the past few years, I have repeatedly thought about what we could do better and what new services we could create.
Luckily, I have not had to consider these issues on my own. I have been supported by the library’s management group and the expertise of the entire staff. The development of the library is a collaborative effort that requires discussion, the enhancement of skills and the continuous coordination of operations.
The most successful organisations encourage their staff to demonstrate initiative and self-direction. The best results can be achieved by enabling individual and group creativity. New service innovations are created through passionate enthusiasm and the open-minded pursuit of new ideas.
The director must be able to take risks: the library will not win more friends or achieve more success and influence by being too cautious. Helsinki University Library has also taken bold action in developing the Open Access Hub.
By establishing local, national and international partnerships, we can best promote the University’s strategic plan. We should also collaborate within the University, with our customers and with the University’s other service institutions.
As of 1 June 2022, I will take over as national librarian, or director of the National Library of Finland. The date is especially significant to me because I began my role as university librarian at Helsinki University Library precisely nine years earlier. A lot has happened over the years.
I am leaving behind an innovative, pragmatic organisation with a positive attitude to change and the ability to promote digitalisation and enhance productive learning, teaching and research. I am sure that the library’s services will contribute to the University’s success also in future audits of its quality management system.
University Librarian, Professor
Helsinki University Library