The ÅAU Champion of Open Access competition: A win-win situation!

The ÅAU Champion of Open Access competition was a success. Five teams, representing all faculties, participated and the open access numbers of all teams were great.

Picking out the champions turned out to be a hard nut to crack. The top OA percentage between the teams for all reported publications 2017-18 was 86 %, scored by the Pedagogical leadership team headed by Prof. Michael Uljens (FPV). The other teams were not far behind: Historia, headed by Laura Hollsten, got 77%, Human Rights hit 74%, and the other History-Department affiliated team KoKo (Kommunicerande Konsumption) with Johanna Wassholm as the team leader scored 73% while Anna Sundberg’s 3PK (wood and paper chemistry, chemical engineering) came in last, but not least with 61%. (These numbers are based on reported instances, which means that in the case of co-authoring, the publication will count many times if co-authors are included in the team – or in another team for that matter.)

Anna Sundelin 2019

Photo: Anna Sundelin 2019 CC-BY 4.0

So much for the open access percentage. The total (absolute) number of open access publications in each team varied greatly, with Team KoKo on top with 68 open access publications, followed by Human Rights with 47, then History 46, 3PK with 34 and Pedagogical leadership with 21. Furthermore, the composition of the team varied, not only the number of members (6-8) but also career levels, which may correlate with authorship intensity. The collected number for all teams is great: 216!

More importantly, challenges to openness vary greatly between fields of research. The 3PK team members mainly co-author and papers often have 8-12 authors. In this set-up, parallel publishing is no piece of cake for those who are not the corresponding authors: getting your hands on the final draft, the version you are most likely to be allowed to parallel publish, a long  time after submission is not always easy. The main option would be gold open access (open access provided by the publisher), which in this field as a rule is pricey and would require a thousand or two Euros for fees for each paper. Also, the field of chemistry is in a special position – one of the most important publishers (American Chemical Society) is less open than many central publishers in other fields (see Björk et al 2018), with lacking transparency regarding sharing policies. Not only is it sometimes difficult to find clear information on the policies, but at least some of the journals require the author to go through contacting procedures to get permission to parallel publish. This might have cost the 3PK team some points since the validators (who check the publication reporting information and the rights issues) have to delete uploaded fulltexts if it seems that they might infringe on copyright agreements.

In history and pedagogy again, gold open access options without fees exist, however some as delayed open access only, a model of gold open access which doesn’t count in the ministry’s crediting system, which is applied in the research database Artur. In these fields, it is not uncommon for publishers of research literature to have no policy at all. Some of them, when asked about their policies during the validation process, came up with policies which raised the scores for both teams of historians.

The total number of publications varied greatly between teams. Some are likely to wear out their keyboards every second year – Team KoKo (8 members) had published altogether 99 papers within two years. And one of the team members had no reported publications whatsoever! A score of 82% open access on peer-reviewed publications (which will render extra funding 1,2 times in 2021) and 64 % on non-peer reviewed publications is impressive. Both Team KoKo and the Human Rights team included columnists, a fact which skyrockets the number of publications. However, parallel publishing policies or permissions or information about them is not always easy to obtain for this kind of publication, an obstacle faced in particular in these fields of research, where some publishing venues are aimed at a broader audience rather than the research community.

The Human Rights team had altogether 66 publications, 17 peer reviewed, 39 others, of which 33 were Elina Pirjatanniemi’s columns. Historia reported altogether 60 publications, out of which 35 were peer reviewed. 3PK had reported 56 publications, all peer reviewed, and Pedagogical leadership 27, out of which 21 were peer reviewed.

However, Pedagogical leadership also provided us with a juicy example of when open access really makes sense: Professor Uljens’s and Rose M. Ylimäki’s co-edited anthology Bridging Educational Leadership, Curriculum Theory and Didaktik, which was published gold open access with Springer in 2017 has achieved over 80000 downloads in less than two years! The single chapters were downloaded 800-6000 times within the first 1,5 years (April 2018 – See current metrics here.) It is a crucial feature of open access that the threshold for access is low and this is of course the key to the citation advantage of open access (see Piwowar et al 2018). Professor Uljens sends his best regards, that open access sometimes really works!

Most teams have celebrated with cake already – congratulations, well done!

The 100% Open Access Champions

The competition also included an individual heat, which didn’t require enrollment. ICT Service’s Niklas Grönblom extracted the numbers from the Artur database and the result was that for reported publications 2017-18, altogether some 300 affiliated researchers scored a 100% Open Access count! Out of these, 93 researchers had reported two or more publications. These champions have been contacted over e-mail, and invited to our hall of fame (below). Congratulations to all of you too! (If you are a 100% OA champion, and have not been contacted over e-mail – please do let us know!)

What we learnt from this exercise was something that we knew, however not in this precious detail – that publication-wise, different fields of science live in different worlds – at least to some extent. And this means that different kinds of support and different advice is needed in different parts of the organization.

The open science team will be happy to visit your department if you invite us, to hear more and help you cope with – and increase! – open access publishing in your spectrum. If you have ideas as to how we could help you publish more in open access, do let us know (openscience (a)

The open access competition 2018 was arranged by staff at ÅAB, the open science team and the Planning unit together, with great support from the ICT-service. Thank you, and keep your eyes on the staff newsletter for more challenges!

Yrsa Neuman (the open science project manager)
ORCID iD icon

NEW 2019 guides to open access publishing for researchers at ÅAU : /på svenska:


Björk , A , Paavola , J-M , Ropponen , T , Laakso , M & Lahti , L 2018. Opening academic publishing – Development and application of systematic evaluation criteria . Open Science and Research Initiative

Piwowar H, Priem J, Larivière V, Alperin JP, Matthias L, Norlander B, Farley A, West J, Haustein S. 2018. The state of OA: a large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ 6:e4375


Wall of Fame: 100% Open Access at ÅAU 2017-2018

Adnan Ashraf Information Technologies
Anna, Törnroos Environmental and Marine Biology / The Sea
Anna-Stina Hägglund Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology
Camilla, Hambro Musikvetenskap, FHPT
Carina Saarela Dpt of Psychology
Christer Glader FNT/Matematik och Statistik
Elina Pirjatanniemi Institute for Human Rights
Emil Kaukonen History
Hilda Ruokolainen Information Studies
Jalal Khademi Social science, peace and developmental psychology
Janne Elo FPV, Allmän pedagogik
Jarl-Thure Eriksson Emeritus Chancellor
Jenny Lindholm Statskunskap med masskommunikation
Johan Ehrstedt History
Karin Sandell Nordisk folkloristik
Katarina Frostell Institute for Human Rights
Klas Backholm Statskunskap med masskommunikation
Kristian Nybom FNT/Informationsteknologi
Käthe Dahlström Bioscience
Marek Budzynski Cell Biology Subject, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Maria Hofman-Bergholm FPV
Marie-Sofie Lundström Konstvetenskap
Marika Sjöqvist Cellbiologi
Mia Heikkilä Fakulteten för pedagogik och välfärdsstudier
Michel Rouleau-Dick Institute for Human Rights
Naima Akhtar Malik Developmental Psychology
Naima Akhtar Malik Developmental psychology
Owen Ndoromo Developmental Psychology
Patrik Hettula History
Peter Ehrström Adult Education
Pia, Vuorio Faculty of Arts
Robin Lybeck Sociology (FSE)
Saija Merke finska språk
Sonja Hagelstam Nordisk etnologi
Staffan Dahlström Physics
Suvi Manner
Thomas Nyman Psychology
Viljam Engström FSE/Folkrätt/IMR

… and 55 more (awaiting online publishing consent).

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