New publisher Helsinki University Press launched – first publications now openly available

The University of Helsinki’s own international scholarly publisher, Helsinki University Press, is a concrete measure taken to promote open-access publishing. The Press is part of a new wave of open-access publishers in Europe.

Helsinki University Press (HUP) is a scholarly publisher focusing on open-access publishing making all its publications openly available online. The rationale behind the publisher is to bring research-based knowledge produced with public funds available to as wide a readership as possible – also, for example, to universities in poor countries that may not have the funds to acquire books or scientific journals. This improves researchers’ opportunities to find solutions to global problems as well.

Helsinki University Press is part of a wave of new university presses – in recent years, open-access publishers have been established by many universities, such as University College London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Stockholm University. These non-profit publishers were born out of a need to make research-based knowledge publicly available without paywalls and take back scholarly publishing from commercial operators.

“Open-access scholarly publishers are needed, since scientific knowledge is not currently distributed efficiently and widely enough, and consequently lacks the impact it should have. We are here for researchers and the dissemination of research-based knowledge,” emphasises HUP’s Publishing Director Leena Kaakinen.

Openness is a value

HUP publishes both Finnish and international peer-reviewed scholarly books (monographs and edited collections) as well as journals. The publication language is primarily English in order to ensure the widest possible readership for scholarly literature. The new publisher is a joint venture of the Gaudeamus publishing house and Helsinki University Library, both of which possess extensive expertise in scholarly publishing from different perspectives.

“HUP provides the University with an opportunity to take a giant leap towards the open-access future of publishing. The collaboration between Gaudemus and the University Library provides concrete results of which I am extremely proud. HUP has the potential to transform scholarly publishing practices and structures. We aim at as comprehensive and direct an openness of scholarly publications as possible,” says University Librarian Kimmo Tuominen from Helsinki University Library.

Open-access scholarly publishing makes research-based knowledge visible and increases citations. It also has a positive effect on society as a whole:

“Openness enables the effective distribution of research-based knowledge and increases its impact within both academia and society at large. Free access to scholarly literature also increases social equality. Increasing the accessibility of scientific research is important to the University of Helsinki, and Helsinki University Press is a concrete measure promoting this goal,” says Rector Jari Niemelä of the University of Helsinki.

Inaugural publications – sociology, education, philosophy, and politics

The first Helsinki University Press publications include three books and one journal.

Jukka Gronow’s study in economic sociology entitled Deciphering Markets and Money: A Sociological Analysis of Economic Institutions has been published on the HUP website. In his work, Gronow analyses the social conditions and terms required for the formation of various economic markets, from markets for arts and culture to financial markets.

Sami Pihlström’s Pragmatic Realism, Religious Truth, and Antitheodicy: On Viewing the World by Acknowledging the Other  has also been published and is freely available. In his work, Pihlström examines ‘eternal’ questions pertaining to the meaning or meaninglessness of human suffering, religious faith, and the fundamental nature of reality.

A collection of articles edited by Kristiina Brunila and Lisbeth Lundahl entitled Youth on the Move: Tendencies and Tensions in Youth Policies and Practices tackles the topical subject of how young people transition from school to professional life or from one educational level to the next. The work analyses the views of both adolescents as well as experts and decision-makers on the success and failure of such transitions.

HUP’s first journal publication is the internationally renowned Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory . Along with the publisher change, the journal became fully open access and the first issue published by HUP came out in December 2019.

Further information:

Anna-Mari Vesterinen, communications and publishing manager, Helsinki University Press