New open access publisher competes through quality and efficient dissemination

The University of Helsinki’s own open access publisher Helsinki University Press (HUP) has refined its publishing and service processes and is preparing to publish its first books. HUP will also publish scientific journals in the future. [This article was updated in April 17, 2023.]

(This is the abstract of the original post in Finnish.)

Helsinki University Press (HUP) will publish its first books this year. [Editorial note: The first HUP books were published in early 2020.] The details of future publications will be communicated later, but there will be monographs on research in the humanities and social sciences.

According to Leena Kaakinen, publishing director for HUP, it is natural to start with these disciplines.

”We have spoken with researchers from different disciplines and found that the greatest demand for a new open access publication channel is in the humanities and social sciences. In the natural sciences, publishing takes place in journals more often than in books and there are more open publishing channels”, says Kaakinen.

However, Kaakinen expects that in the future HUP will publish monographs and edited volumes from all fields. In addition, HUP will also publish journals in the future.

Helsinki University Press (HUP)

      • Helsinki University Press (HUP) is a scholarly Open Access publisher. Preparatory work for HUP began in 2017. HUP is owned by the University of Helsinki, and managed by Helsinki University Library and Gaudeamus.
      • HUP publishes academic, peer-reviewed monographs, edited volumes and journals from all fields. The main emphasis is on English-language publications, but it is also possible to publish in other languages.
      • All publications of HUP undergo a rigorous peer review process before the publication decision is made. See HUP’s peer review policy for more detailed information.
      • HUP’s digital publications are free to download in pdf or HTML format, and can be bought as e-books or in print for a fee (print-on-demand).

Why HUP was established

HUP is a joint venture between the University of Helsinki (owner) and the Helsinki University Library and Gaudeamus (management of the publisher’s operations). Gaudeamus is a publishing house for scientific literature. There were two main reasons for setting up HUP.

”First, the University of Helsinki has long been hoping for its own ’university press’, which would also be aimed at the international public. Therefore, HUP’s main emphasis is on English-language publications. Secondly, there was a desire to promote open access publishing”, says Leena Kaakinen, who also works as Gaudeamus’s publishing director.

As international benchmarks, Kaakinen refers to the Stockholm University Press and two British publishers, the UCL Press and Open Book Publishers.

”In general, Britain has had a strong movement where universities have set up their own publishing houses as counterforces to commercial scientific publishers. Universities want to take their publishing into their own hands so that it benefits the university and the money does not go to commercial operators and into the pockets of investors.”

Leena Kaakinen stresses that HUP has a high-quality publishing process from peer review to editing and layout. @Jussi Männistö

What HUP offers for researchers

Gaudeamus has decades of experience in high-quality scientific publishing in Finland. In international competition, HUP strives to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering researchers better service.

”It varies a lot what kind of service a researcher receives from international scientific publishers. Some publishers do nothing to the script. We focus on quality. We have a high-quality publishing process from peer review to editing and layout. This is our strength in the competition.”

From researchers’ point of view, it is essential that the publication reaches its potential readers. All publications by HUP are openly available, and this in itself allows better dissemination of publications. HUP also has other ways to intensify distribution, especially in terms of indexing and metadata.

”Our British partner Ubiquity Press [publishing platform provider] is an expert in open access publishing, and it is able to ensure that publications are disseminated in all relevant OA channels. The Helsinki University Library’s expertise in metadata and discoverability is also very important.”

Book proposals are constantly welcomed

Currently, HUP has more than 10 manuscripts at various stages of the publishing process. New book proposals are constantly welcomed. Instead of sending a full manuscript, it is advisable to send an idea for a manuscript via the HUP book proposal form.

”The book proposal form includes key questions about the book. It is a good starting point.”

Book proposals are not limited in any way: anyone can send proposals at any time. Proposals are evaluated by the HUP Academic Board which consists of 12 researchers. Manuscripts undergo a rigorous peer review process before the publication decision is made.

Currently, the HUP does not charge book processing charges (BPC) for publishing. Publishing will also remain free of charge in the future, at least for University of Helsinki researchers.

”We are monitoring how open access publishing develops and we are also trying to influence it. Under no circumstances do we want a funding model where individual researchers have to pay for the publication themselves. It is crucial that open access publishing is institutionally funded.”