Laura Taajamaa

Strong scientific publishing and collaboration in competence clusters

8 Feb 2023

A report produced by the Academy of Finland in collaboration with CSC – IT Center for Science has examined how research topics related to the Finnish Flagships have evolved. The bibliometric analysis on publications and references looks at the collaboration between Finnish research organisations and international partners. Additionally, we studied the scientific impact of research.

The Flagship Programme of the Academy of Finland supports high-quality research and its wider impact in society. Flagships are competence clusters that work in close collaboration with the business sector and society at large. International collaboration is also essential. The Flagships create competences and skills for the future and sustainable solutions to different societal challenges.

The publication clusters examined in the report were formed based on keywords and the publications each Flagship has reported to the Academy. As the six first Flagships had submitted their interim reports when the analysis began, the report concentrates on their research topics. These six flagships are

The reported publications were used to train a machine-learning model. The model identified publications that belonged to each topic using the Web of Science (WoS) database.

Flagship research topics have scientific impact even before the funding starts

The results of the report show that the Finnish research done within the Flagship themes has a more profound scientific impact than international research on average even before the beginning of the Flagship funding period. The publications within the themes have a higher top 10 index than the world average. The index measures the share of most cited publications within a certain time frame and scientific discipline. If the index value is above one, the publications have a higher-than-average scientific impact.

More international collaboration

The report shows that the amount of international and national collaboration fluctuated based on the subject. However, the number of co-publications by Finnish research organisations went up in all subjects. The themes for the FCAI and 6G Flagships had the most publications by one organisation. National collaboration was most prominent in the themes represented by the INVEST and iCAN Flagships, whereas international collaboration increased significantly in the themes within the PREIN and FinnCERES Flagships. The figure below shows an example of the collaboration graphs produced in the analysis.

Figure 1. Collaboration networks in the research themes represented by the INVEST Flagship during 2005–2008 (left) and 2015–2018 (right). The area of a circle indicates the publication volume of the organisation, the colour of the circle the value of the top 10 index, and the line a co-publication. The absolute number and the top 10 index value of the group of publications is shown in the top left corner.

Perspectives for examining scientific impact

While interpreting the results, it is important to bear in mind that the analysis has some limitations due to the methodology. The keywords and the publications that were used to train the model varied from one topic to another, which affected how the publication sets were formed. Additionally, WoS, the publication database used as the source for data, covers publications from social sciences and humanities to a lesser degree. Therefore, the results do not reflect the actual extent of publishing within the themes of these fields (e.g. the themes of the INVEST Flagship). It is also important to keep in mind that the bibliometric analyses represent the impact publications have within the scientific community. The units (Flagship themes) were large enough and their publication numbers high enough to justify the bibliometric analysis. Despite their limitations, the bibliometric indicators, such as the top 10 index, provide a way to examine scientific impact. As for assessing quality, peer review is a central method.

The report is a part of the Academy of Finland’s State of Scientific Research in Finland review, which aims to produce material that supports development in higher education institutes and research institutes and to serve informed science policy.

Read the report:

Read more about the State of Scientific Research in Finland review:

More information:

  • Laura Taajamaa, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 027
  • Otto Auranen, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 141

Our email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname(at)

*Results presented here are derived from the Web of Science ® prepared by CLARIVATE ANALYTICS ®, Inc. (Formerly the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters®), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: © Copyright CLARIVATE ANALYTICS ® 2016-2022. All rights reserved. Results are taken with permission from the bibliometric analysis system provided by CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd., Espoo, Finland. 

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