Helsinki University Press – a new channel for scholarly open access publishing

Helsinki University Press, the new international scholarly publisher of the University of Helsinki, has released its first publications. The publications are freely available to all on the publisher’s website.

Helsinki University Press (HUP) is a non-commercial, researcher-driven scholarly publisher that brings researchers at the fore of academic publishing. HUP functions under Helsinki University Library, and has just released its first books and journals. The publisher offers researchers support and services related to open access publishing. HUP’s goal is to make open access publishing as smooth as possible and disseminate research findings globally. Publishing decisions at HUP are made, on the basis of peer reviews, by an academic board consisting of researchers. All publications are freely available online.

– When establishing Helsinki University Press, we held extensive discussions with researchers on their concerns and views, as we wanted to create a publisher and services that meet the needs of researchers. We are here precisely for researchers and the dissemination of research-based knowledge, emphasises HUP’s Publishing Director Leena Kaakinen.

HUP is open to all scholars, which means that it also provides services to people from outside the University of Helsinki. HUP publishes mainly in English, reaching audiences globally. HUP is part of an international phenomenon of new university libraries – several universities, including University College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Stockholm University, have established their own university presses.

Professional service on researchers’ terms

The inaugural publications of HUP focus on sociology, education, philosophy and politics.

Professor emeritus Jukka Gronow’s study in economic sociology entitled Deciphering Markets and Money: A Sociological Analysis of Economic Institutions, analyses the social conditions and terms required for the formation of various economic markets, from markets for arts and culture to financial markets. Gronow says that the new publisher seemed to be an attractive publishing channel.

– HUP offered valuable assistance in language revision, among other things. The publishing process was quite smooth and corresponded with my earlier experience in working with the best traditional publishers, Gronow states.

Another new publication is Professor Sami Pihlström’s monograph in the philosophy of religion entitled Pragmatic Realism, Religious Truth, and Antitheodicy: On Viewing the World by Acknowledging the Other. In his work, Pihlström examines ‘eternal’ questions pertaining to the meaning or meaninglessness of human suffering, religious faith and the fundamental nature of reality.

– When HUP launched its operations, I ended up both offering my idea for a book and contributing to the new publisher’s activities as a member of the academic board. In the humanities, publishing monographs remains fundamental also in the future, Pihlström says.

A collection of articles entitled Youth on the Move: Tendencies and Tensions in Youth Policies and Practices, edited by Professor Kristiina Brunila and Professor Lisbeth Lundahl, focuses on the topical question of how young people transition from school to work or from one educational level to another. The work analyses the views of both young people as well as experts and decision-makers on the success and failure of such transitions. Brunila and Lundahl are flying the flag for openness:

– We think openness is crucially relevant, as we hope our book reaches not only the academic community but also decision-makers and professionals in the field of education. Researchers should value openness. We cannot demand funding for our research if we don’t make our findings available outside academia.

HUP’s first journal is the internationally renowned Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory, now transformed into an open access publication. Professor Tuija Pulkkinen, one of the journal’s Editors-in-Chief, highlights the quality of open access publications:

– Scholarly publishers, such as HUP, that provide professional services are important, since they ensure a high quality of open access publishing, while keeping the publishing costs moderate with the help of institutional funding. Redescriptions is now taking a bold step towards the new world of scholarly publishing.

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For more information, please contact Anna-Mari Vesterinen, Communications and Publishing Manager at Helsinki University Press, anna-mari.vesterinen@helsinki.fi

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Translation: Language Services, University of Helsinki.