Impact and language

From: Jan Velterop <openaccess_at_BTINTERNET.COM>
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 11:54:07 +0100

This sentence struck me in Jean-Claude's message: "Most of the journals
are published in Finnish."
If impact is the prime objective of open access (and I agree with Stevan
cum suis that it should be), should not the case be made that for
material of global relevance (which may not be the situation for these
Finnish titles mentioned by Jean-Claude) not only open access but
also publication in English whenever possible is one of the essentials in
order to achieve optimal impact? English is after all extremely widely
understood by non-native speakers of the language, and this is
particularly true in scientific circles. And for those not reading
English, surely a translation in their own language from English is
easier to obtain on the whole than, say, from Finnish, Dutch or
Serbo-Croation, to name some random examples.
Jan Velterop

Jean-Claude Guédon <jean.claude.guedon_at_UMONTREAL.CA> wrote:
      Pursuing my attempt to get some fix on the proportion of
      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
      business model à la BiomedCentral orPLoS - here are some
      results from Finland, obtained from the Academy of Finland:


      I am sorry I can´t put any exact figure on scholarly journals
      in Finland. The total number can be about 70. Which are
      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
      activities of scientific societies. We do not have scientific
      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
      Many of the journals subsidized by Academy get indirect
      subsidy, too.
      Like you described in your text. Those few journals which are
      subsidized by Academy get some other indirect or direct

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

      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

      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
      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 Guédon

      Dr. Jean-Claude Guédon
      Dept. of Comparative Literature
      University of Montreal
      PO Box 6128, Downtown Branch
      Montreal, QC H3C 3J7
Received on Wed Sep 28 2005 - 12:31:34 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:02 GMT