Subsidies of journals in Finland

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Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 11:16:27 -0400

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Pursuing my attempt to get some fix on the proportion of research
journals directly or indirectly subsidized by governmental funds - once
again, let me clarify that the indirect subsidy does *not* include the
costs of subscriptions paid by publicly supported libraries; nor does it
include the costs of publishing articles in a so-called "author-pays"
business model à la BiomedCentral orPLoS - here are some interesting
results from Finland, obtained from the Academy of Finland:


I am sorry I can┬┤t put any exact figure on scholarly journals published
in Finland. The total number can be about 70. Which are really
scientific or scholarly is not easy to define. Most of the journals are
published in Finnish.
The Academy of Finland grants subsidies to support the publishing
activities of scientific societies. We do not have scientific journals
published by private publishing houses in Finland. Each society runs its
own "business". Scientific societies have got these grants for decades.
So I would say that the process is more traditionalist than selective.
Many of the journals subsidized by Academy get indirect subsidy, too.
Like you described in your text. Those few journals which are not
subsidized by Academy get some other indirect or direct subsidy.

Hope my generalised and nonspecific answer gives you some idea of the
scientific publishing in Finland.


My summary of this is that, in Finland, the Acadmey provides block
grants to the scientific societies. These in turn use these block grants
to publish journals that range from the scholarly level (peer reviewed)
to non-scholarly levels (popularization?, professional?, educational?).
One thing is clear, however: *all* scholarly journals (with peer review)
in Finland are publicly supported, both directly and indirectly.

The unresolved issue is that, of the 70 journals, the Academy does not
appear to know the number of the truly scholarly or scientific journals,
the apparent reason being the way in which this financing is delegated.

This situation of delegation cum scientific association autonomy is
relatively common IMHO. Scientific societies always strive for maximum
freedom of action even while requesting maximum support from
governmental sources. In a good number of countries - and Finland
appears to be one of them - they seem to achieve a fair degree of
success. From my perspective, this situation alas creates another layer
of opacity.

In conclusion, all scholarly journals published in Finland are publicly
supported. So Stevan's request for a proportion figure finds an easy
answer: 100%. We simply do not know how many of these journals there

If any reader on the list, preferably from Finland, can give us an
estimate of this number of scientific or scholarly journals, we will
have a fairly complete picture of the situation in Finland.

And I continue to be interested in any data from any country on this
question of public support (direct and indirect) to the publishing of
scientific and scholarly journals.


Jean-Claude Gu├ędon

Dr. Jean-Claude Gu├ędon
Dept. of Comparative Literature
University of Montreal
PO Box 6128, Downtown Branch
Montreal, QC H3C 3J7
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Received on Tue Sep 27 2005 - 21:35:40 BST

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