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Academic libraries and OA books. The Finnish perspective.

Published onJan 31, 2021

Key findings

  • Research libraries in Finland each have their own OA policy and act as public libraries, accessible to all citizens, regardless of affiliation or lack thereof

  • The interests of university  libraries are represented by the Finnish University Libraries network, while the universities of applied sciences have their own AMKIT consortium

  • National OA policy excludes monographs

  • The Academy of Finland offers funding for OA publications

  • Helsinki University Press is a researcher-driven press offering open access publishing options for books without BPCs for authors

  • Libraries rely on aggregators for OA book coverage

General library system for e-content and OA publications

Finland’s higher education institutions can be divided in two main sectors: research universities (13) and universities of applied sciences (22) (Higher Education Institutions and Science Agencies, n.d.). Both types of institutions have their own libraries, organised in associations and consortia. Research libraries are open to the public, with minor restrictions on access to content for non-affiliates, particularly when it comes to the STM journals (In Finland LIBRARIES Basic Service for Everyone, n.d.). 

The National Library of Finland plays a pivotal role in the library landscape in Finland. Being the central information hub, it provides services to all Finish libraries. It coordinates the efforts of the FinELib, a consortium of research institutions, universities, universities of applied sciences and public libraries. FinELib facilitates access to electronic resources on a national level and represents the member institutions in negotiations with international publishers. In its strategy for 2021-2030 it mentions openness as one of its principles (Strategic Plan of the National Library of Finland 2021-2030, 2020).

The Finnish University Libraries Network (former Council for Finnish University Libraries) is an organisation representing all research universities in Finland. Although it is not a formal consortium, the body acts as a forum for the exchange of information between research libraries, and  encourages collaboration and experimentation. The interests of Finnish universities of applied sciences are represented by the AMKIT consortium, which facilitates cooperation between participating institutions. 

Library community and open access

The research library community in Finland seems to be tight and well-organised into associations and networks, such as the Finnish Research Library Association with 700 members or the Network of Special Libraries and Information Services. 

Open access projects are handled on each institution’s level with the Open Science expert panels programme acting as a project encouraging OA on a national level, and  numerous working groups focusing on particular fields of open science, such as open education, open data, open access and open scholarship.

OA book policies

Finland has been a strong supporter of open access in Europe, with its first OA initiatives launched in 2014, and a national OA mandate for peer reviewed articles in 2017. The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture appointed the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies to coordinate all open science-related activities. With the help of this organisation the national policy and declaration was inaugurated in 2019. It rolls out the implementation plan for the five coming years, covering the period between 2020-2025(Open Access to Scholarly Publications National Policy Executive Plan by the Research Community in Finland for 2020-2025, 2019). The policy’s main objective is to have all newly published research articles available open access by 2022, with no embargo periods. It covers both Finnish and international journals and should be applied in cases when authors are affiliated with a Finnish institution or funded by a Finnish funder. The policy pertains to articles and conference publications, making no mention of monographs, although their inclusion in national OA policies was much anticipated. 

HEI follow the national OA guidelines while creating OA policies. There are currently 33 registered OA policies in ROAR map, among which three specifically mention book or book sections (University of Eastern Finland, University of Jyväskylä and Åbo Akademi University). 

OA book funding

The Academy of Finland, following its OA policy, offers funding for OA publications as part of research grants. Funding is geared towards article publishing charges, but it can also be used towards “other types of publications”, which presumably means books (Academy of Finland - Academy of Finland, n.d.). 

No OA book-specific funds are available on an institutional level. 

Library/scholar-led OA book publishing

Back in 2016-2017, the Aleksandria library consortium was a pilot project run by the Finnish Literature Society (SKS) and Helsinki University Library (HULib), based on the Knowledge Unlatched model applied to the Finnish library environment. Participating libraries were offered a package of ten books (three forthcoming titles and seven backlist titles). The project is no longer active(Kirjastokonsortio Aleksandria – suomalainen tiedekirjallisuus avoimeksi verkkoon, n.d.).

Finnish university presses do offer open access publishing options. The relatively young Tampere University Press, founded in 2014, publishes all their books in open access, operating on a BPC model. The current BPC (as of December 2020) amounts to 2,250 EURO +VAT (Information for Authors | Tampere Universities, n.d.).

Researchers can publish their books open access with Helsinki University Press, which accepts both its affiliates and scholars from other institutions, without applying Book Processing Charges to individual authors (Helsinki University Press, n.d.) .  

Integration of OA books in library systems

For the inclusion of open access books in their catalogues and discovery systems Finnish libraries rely on aggregators. On a national level a common discovery tool based on the open source library portal called VuFind has been applied. 

Important contributors

National Library of Finland


AMKIT consortium

Universities Finland (UNIFI)

The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV)

The Finnish Research Library Association

Network of Special Libraries and Information Services

The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies

Open Science Coordination

Aleksandria library consortium


Declaration for Open Science and Research (Finland) 2020-2025. (2019).

Academy of Finland - Academy of Finland. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2020, from

In Finland  LIBRARIES basic service for everyone. (n.d.).

Open Access to Scholarly Publications National Policy Executive Plan by the Research Community in Finland for 2020-2025. (2019).

Open Science and Data Action Programme for the Finnish Scholarly Community. (2018).

Strategic Plan of the National Library of Finland 2021-2030. (2020).

Higher education institutions and science agencies. (n.d.). Opetus- Ja Kulttuuriministeriö. Retrieved December 8, 2020, from

Kirjastokonsortio Aleksandria – suomalainen tiedekirjallisuus avoimeksi verkkoon. (n.d.). Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from

Information for authors | Tampere universities. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2020, from

Helsinki University Press. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2020, from

Photo of Helsinki Central Library by Siyuant on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

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