Finland remains a leading country in the transparency of academic publishing costs

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (MoE) just released the price information for academic publishing agreements for 2017. With this, the price information for virtually all academic publishers is now openly available for most academic institutions in Finland 2010-2017. The data is available for download under creative commons. Further information of this data release is available in Finnish. The data release is said to increase the transparency of publishing prices, support international discussion on the licensing fees, and promote open science.

With this, Finland maintains the leading position in the transparency of academic publishing prices and agreements. The 2017 price data release by MoE follows the recent release of full text agreements with several major publishers by FinELib, the consortium of Finnish academic libraries and a report commissioned by MoE, developing systematic evaluation criteria to assess the openness of major academic publishers.

Notably, these price data releases have been triggered by the initial freedom of information (FOI) requests and a 2014 court appeal by Finnish open science advocates, coordinated by Open Science work group of the Open Knowledge Finland. This was initially inspired by related efforts in the UK and USA. To our knowledge the FInnish pricing data is, however, the most complete national data set to date in terms of institutional and temporal coverage. Related efforts have been subsequently taken place in several other countries. Without the dedicated grass-roots activities of the Finnish open science advocates this information might still remain closed today. In fact, this is the prevailing situation in most countries.

At Open Knowledge FInland we hope that the Ministry of Education and Culture will continue to support the collection and availability of information on academic publishing costs in the long term. This will enable continuous transparent monitoring of the development of academic publishing prices  over time and sets a unique example for other countries to follow.