Free and easy access to Finnish research publications in Juuli portal

Ministry of Education and Culture 5.6.2013 12.00
News item

Juuli, a publications portal launched in early June is a comprehensive source for bibliographic references of Finnish universities’ domestic and international publications. The portal also provides tools for scanning and searching citations.

Juuli contains information on all research publications published by Finnish universities and, for the first time, also provides a comprehensive collection of their bibliographic references in one portal. Similar information is available for instance in domestic sources such as Arto, Melinda, Fennica and in international databases such as WoS and Scopus, but they all include other publications and do not list all research publications published by Finnish researchers.

Juuli helps users find information on academic publications quickly and easily because it is possible to view all the academic publications of all Finnish universities on one interface. An alternative way is to search the publication registers of each university separately. It is possible to narrow down the search results by university, academic discipline, language of publication, publication forum or publication type.

The same numerical data is in Juuli as in Vipunen, which is a portal that provides statistical and indicator-based data. The main difference is that Juuli also enables access beyond the numbers to bibliographic references and in many cases direct access to the actual publications.

The National Library of Finland designed and implemented the portal.

Enhancing transparency

- The Ministry of Education and Culture, which has financed the project, aims to enhance transparency in academic research and publication activities. This is largely linked to the strongly growing role of academic publications in the new funding model for universities, observes Mr Olli Poropudas, Counsellor of Education at the Ministry of Education and Culture.

- The new funding model for universities involves the allocation over EUR 200 million to universities on the basis of the rating of their publications in publication forums. It is therefore essential that information on publications is harmonious and reliable. It is equally important that universities and researchers know what information the allocation of funds is based on and that researchers can control information related to themselves where necessary.

There has been some public discussion about the publication portal because it displays the quality ratings the publications have been given in the publication forum. The purpose in making the classifications public is to encourage the publication of academic research papers in the best publication fora.

Poropudas stresses that the quality ratings in the publication forum do not reflect the quality of the individual publications in any way and should therefore not be used as a criterion for the allocation of funds within individual universities. The classifications serve as a tool in the funding model for universities but do not gauge the quality of individual publications.

Researchers highlight transparency too

A pilot version of Juuli and questionnaires on the use of the portal were introduced in the University of Tampere and the University of Turku to survey the views of university staff members.

The answers showed that open access to publication data was deemed very important, and a national portal such as Juuli gained solid support. This could be seen in many of the comments by the respondents, where they underlined the relevance of transparency in research and comparisons between different universities.

The presentation of publication data in a uniform format and according to quality ratings also seemed to encourage researchers to consider more carefully how and where to publish their research.

Development needs

Juuli enhances the transparency, conformity and reliability of publication data. However, there is still work to be done in developing the portal. At present, there are bibliographic references of 32,000 publications from 2011 in the portal. Publication data for 2012 collected from the universities this spring will be added to the database in the autumn.

The aim is to reach a point where data is updated on a real-time basis, but before this can be achieved, technical solutions to the publication registers of universities and data collection processes will need to be improved significantly, and this may require some time.
Besides data from universities, the portal will also include data from polytechnics in the future. University hospitals and government research institutions will also be offered the opportunity to participate.

The authors of the publications cannot be perfectly identified in Juuli yet. Authors of the same name have not been discriminated in the user interface, and the same author may occasionally appear in different forms. For authors to be identified reliably, it would be necessary to create a national register of researchers or the introduction of a researcher-specific identifier throughout the country.

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