ThinkOpen puts the University’s open-source data and code in the spotlight

The University of Helsinki’s open research data, publications and open-source code can now be accessed through the ThinkOpen website. The website is a pilot for a series of concrete measures the University intends to take to promote open science.

The University of Helsinki has opened the pilot website ThinkOpen at to help the academic community and to support product development based on research data. The website compiles research data openly released by University of Helsinki research projects from the Etsin search service, and code generated in application development from GitHub. In addition, the site features links to the publication data of the University’s Open Access publications through the Juuli publication portal.

 “I believe that open data cooperation networks have a demand both for research data and the code generated in the University’s research and other projects. Now we can offer new partnership opportunities for expert and research communities, such as Open Knowledge Finland () or cooperation networks in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, such as Helsinki Region Infoshare,” says Susanna Rautio, the University’s head of digital communications.

Open science moves the academic community forward

Opening up research data helps the entire academic community move forward. Mikko Tolonen, who studies digital humanities (#helsinkiHD), conducts his research in a fully open, international ecosystem. Now the same research material is being studied at the University of Helsinki, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. The Consortium of European Research Libraries has donated a significant amount of raw data to Tolonen after hearing about his vision.

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }


Modelling accessibility and mobility

Ainokaisa Tarnanen, who works on modelling accessibility and mobility with Assistant Professor Tuuli Toivonen, now hopes to gain GPS data on cycling from volunteers to complete her Master’s thesis.

Tarnanen’s and Toivonen’s data needs relate to the major accessibility study conducted by the Department of Geosciences and Geography. Tarnanen’s research results will be combined into the Helsinki region travel time matrix, which describes the time it takes to move between statistical rectangles in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area by car, public transportation, on foot or by bike.

Tuuli Toivonen also employs social media data in her research. She wants to understand how people use their environments, and uses the data she collects to help plan urban environments and protect national parks.


Partners can now access the University’s open data and code

The Helsinki region travel time matrix has been published as open data, and is available to anyone interested in the city's transportation flows. The third publication from the matrix will be released once the western expansion of the Helsinki metro is completed, and will also include cycling data.

 “Launching the ThinkOpen website is a concrete measure through which the University can demonstrate its commitment to open science and research – after all, the University is also a part of the Ministry of Education and Culture's project for promoting open science and research”, says Eeva Nyrövaara, who is in charge of the University’s open science services.

Now the website offers the University of Helsinki's open-source code as well as research data from the Open Science and Research project's Etsin search service. The website also features information on the University’s Open Access publications from the Juuli publication portal.

The Etsin service features 169 University of Helsinki resources, primarily in the natural sciences, as well as nearly 100 researchers who are committed to open science.

“But this pilot website is just the beginning. In the future, the University will be producing services to support open science and research, and they will be used in the further development of ThinkOpen,” Nyrövaara explains.

Helsinki is a leading city in open data

The idea of the Ministry of Education and Culture is that Finland will become a leading country in the openness of science and research by 2017, and that the opportunities of open science will be widely exploited in our society.

In addition, the Ministry wants to promote the reliability of science and research, and to promote the adoption of open research methods.

In the latest Webometrics ranking of open digital publishing (), the University of Helsinki ranked 87th. In the European ranking it placed 12th. These are the highest rankings of any Finnish university.

Success in the ranking is also partially influenced by open science publications in English. Consequently, the University has promoted open research and science actively during 2016 – this is also in keeping with the University’s strategic guidelines.

One of the resulting research cooperation initiatives is Helsinki Digital Humanities Heldig. Digital humanities (#HelsinkiDH) is the University’s current science theme.

 “We are of course very happy and proud that Helsinki is one of the world’s leading cities in open data,” Rautio says.

 “The University is a good, open partner for Helsinki!"