Open access speeds up scientific progress and makes life easier for researchers
TUT is the most prolific open access publisher of all the technologically oriented universities in Finland. Researchers are encouraged to make their papers openly accessible: it takes some extra effort but brings tangible benefits.
Postdoctoral Researcher Annamaria Mesaros from the Laboratory of Signal Processing finds it rewarding if other researchers are able to utilise her data to generate new knowledge. She is confident that the members of the scientific community use openly accessible data responsibly and respectfully.
In 2017, 45 per cent of all the peer-reviewed papers published by researchers at TUT were made openly accessible. Chief Information Specialist Susanna Nykyri from the TUT Library credits the University’s top management for the growth of open access publishing. The top management has a strong and clearly articulated commitment to promote open access (OA).
The EU and Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture are also pushing for open access and have set an ambitious goal to make all publicly funded research output freely available by 2020.
“All universities, including TUT, will have to work hard to achieve this goal,” says Nykyri.
A large part of the work to increase and ensure open access to publications takes place at the TUT Library.
“Researchers are ultimately responsible for making their papers openly accessible, but we help them, for example, by collecting publication data from various databases and inquiring on their behalf about the possibility to also store their papers in our own TUTCRIS research information system.”
OA adoption gathers pace but changes are necessary
Navigating through the jungle of open access platforms and publishers with all their different policies, requirements and fees may feel like a daunting prospect for an individual researcher. The TUT Library offers training and advice for researchers on all aspects of open access. The TUT Library has also negotiated with publishers to agree on lower fees for making papers openly accessible.
“TUT has at least a theoretical chance to achieve the EU’s goal, but the push for open access is a collaborative effort. Publishers will also have to adjust their current policies to accommodate open access.”
When all the universities in Europe are compared against the goal set by the EU, Finland is placed roughly in the middle, but Nykyri says that there is reason for optimism.
“A great deal of work has already been done in Finland to lay the groundwork and accelerate the adoption of open access publishing over the next few years,” she says.
Natural part of working as a researcher
Technology Publisher of the Year Award
The Technology Publisher of the Year Award was granted by the Industrial Research Fund at Tampere University of Technology for the first time this autumn.
The annual award is especially intended for early-career researchers and is given in recognition of high-impact research. The award criteria include not only conventional citation indexes but also other indicators of research impact.
At the opening of the academic year held at TUT in September, Annamaria Mesaros was granted the first Technology Publisher of the Year Award by the Industrial Research Fund at TUT. Dani Korpi received the 2017 Doctoral Dissertation Award given out by the Science Fund of the City of Tampere.
“When a conference accepts my paper, I always publish the paper on my homepage. I let readers know what I’m working on and give everyone interested the opportunity to read and comment on my paper,” says Annamaria Mesaros, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Laboratory of Signal Processing at TUT.
The number of openly accessible papers was one of the reasons that earned Mesaros the Technology Publisher of the Year Award in September 2018.
Mesaros is currently working on the EverySound project that is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and headed by Professor Tuomas Virtanen. The project focuses on identifying everyday sounds in our environment.
“For example, if we get a mobile phone to identify its surroundings based on the soundscape, the phone will be able to automatically mute itself in a library and increase the ringtone volume on a busy street.”
Research data is also made freely available
ERC and a growing number of other funding agencies are strong advocates of open access. With this in mind, the members of the Audio Research Group at TUT decided to make their research data openly accessible. The idea took off when they organised the second international Detection and Classification of Acoustic Scenes and Events (DCASE) Challenge and the first DCASE Workshop back in 2016. DCASE’s datasets were made freely available to all.
“The DCASE Challenge and Workshop have since evolved into large-scale annual events. This year the workshop will be hosted by the University of Surrey. The research community that has grown around DCASE frequently use the collected data and also contribute new data.”
Mesaros has learned to embrace open access.
“I’ve written countless emails to gain access to the data I need. Although data collectors often grant access to their data, data that is owned by others cannot be shared.”
This means that the scientific community cannot thoroughly evaluate research results or compare them with the results of similar studies that have been conducted on different datasets.
“It takes time and effort to collect and refine data, but open access will accelerate scientific progress from baby steps to giant leaps,” Mesaros says.