The Position of Finnish Forest Research is Stagnating

12.5.2021

The present status and recent developments suggest that Finnish forest research is not performing as well as other comparable countries. Our position measured in terms of publication volumes and their growth is inferior to many key countries in the world of forest research. These facts combined with the relatively modest number of publications produced through international collaboration suggest that Finland is in danger of losing its position among the world’s leading forest research countries.

International science collaboration is an essential element in assuring the quality of research work. Publications produced in international collaboration have a higher scientific impact compared to domestic publications. Those countries with a strong bibliometric track record manage well when competing for international funding resources. Using bibliometric methods, Tapio together with academics from the University of Oxford and the leading Finnish forest research organizations analyzed the global forest research volumes and research collaboration between researchers, institutes and countries during the period 2010─2019.

Notwithstanding the fact that Finnish publication volumes in forest sciences have increased during 2010-2019 and the share of internationally collaborative papers has also grown compared to the situation in the early 2000s, the international position of Finnish forest research is slowly declining, owing to the relatively modest growth in publishing.

Scientific excellence correlates strongly with positive funding decisions and some funding organizations even set international collaboration as a prerequisite for research applications. Only slightly more than half of the Finnish papers are written in collaboration with international partners while other European countries are clearly more active in this regard.

When comparing Finnish and Swedish research organizations, those from Sweden are more internationally oriented and they also have higher academic impact measured by citation indices. In both countries the five top institutes produce more than three quarters of their country’s respective publications and in both countries economic topics are strong for sustainability related research topics. The same pattern applies also to Austrian research institutes.

Analyses based on bibliometric data used in this study reveal the status regarding publication volumes and trends. These analyses can provide objective facts that are needed when developing research strategies and policies as well as allocating funding resources. Corrective measures are needed to strengthen the international status of Finnish forest research if recent declining influence is to be halted and reversed.

Contact information:

Liisa Käär, Senior Advisor, Tapio
+358 40 520 0134
liisa.kaar(at)tapio.fi

Risto Päivinen, Senior Advisor, Tapio
+358 500 577 308
risto.paivinen(at)tapio.fi