Theseus is the biggest Open Repository in Finland with over 12,000 theses completed yearly in the Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS). The basis for research in UAS lies in the development of working life and collaboration with enterprises. Theseus is a service offered by AMKIT Consortium and administered by Arene ry, the Rectors" Conference of Finnish UAS. Here is a short look at the development done in Open Access publishing in Finnish UASs.
In 2008, Finland’s Universities of Applied Sciences created an open repository for theses and research publications. A joint project of UASs to build a common repository helped us tackle both technical and copyright issues. The essential goal of the project was to make a user-friendly one-stop shop for all UAS research. Soon after the introduction of the repository, the objective proved to be a success. At the moment, Theseus has approximately 40,000 Bachelor’s and Master’s theses uploaded into the repository.
Processes and use
The repository relies on author publishing. Students upload their theses to the repository themselves. The role of the library is limited to quality control of data entries as well as promoting Theseus and facilitating the upload process at the campuses. In addition to this, UASs have a small common Theseus specialist group working with platform and software (DSpace) maintenance and development and offering support for UASs across the country. However, the process requires a broad understanding of Open Access ideology and practice at the campuses and accordingly, students, teachers, research staff members as well as librarians have a to be familiar with them.
Sharing knowledge fluently is the focal point of Theseus. Theseus gives all parties concerned with the process an opportunity to promote their know-how. Visibility for research and development work of enterprises and UASs is guaranteed. Students’ competencies are on display to future employers and partners in cooperation. An international and unlimited audience can be reached especially in the case of theses written in English. No wonder the repository is in very active use: according to statistics, some theses have been downloaded more than 20,000 times, and we have a total of about 100,000 visitors a month from across the world.
Open Access Statement and the start of self-archiving
In January 2010, Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences declared an Open Access statement together. In this statement, the UASs require all teachers and researchers to save a copy of their research essays that are published in scientific publications, or a university publication series, in the Open Repository Theseus. According to UASs, the results of publicly funded research and development work must be openly accessible to everyone on the Internet. The mandate was accepted by Arene ry, the Rectors" Conference of Finnish UASs, and it was a great leap forward for the Finnish Open Access publication.
Nevertheless, the self-archiving of research papers has not started on a full scale yet. For the time being, there are about 500 research publications in Theseus and the amount is growing very slowly. Although self-archiving is required, there is no pressure or processes being created for this purpose by the UAS management, yet.
Most theses are still in the traditional written format, converted into PDF files and uploaded with abstract and metadata to compose a record. Yet even from the very beginning, there was a growing interest to create theses or part of them as a sound sample or video, and the Theseus initiative took streaming as one the main objectives of the repository. During the pilot period (years 2007–2009) streaming applications turned out to be too complicated to take into operation. Hopefully, this autumn we will be able to launch the streaming service for Theseus. We will start by offering streaming for those audio-visual works which do not contain material under copyright restrictions.
Information Specialist Minna Marjamaa