Sustainable development themes strongly featured in Finnish scientific publications

20 Feb 2024

Finnish publications related to UN Sustainable Development Goals have a higher scientific impact than other publications on average. The share of publications related to the SDGs has increased in Finnish publishing, the central topic being health and wellbeing. Information on the subject is available in the most recent State of Scientific Research in Finland publication by the Research Council of Finland.

The Research Council of Finland has published a report on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in scientific publishing in Finland. The report analyses SDG themes specifically in the publications by projects funded by the Research Council. The report examines the number of SDG-themed publications, their scientific impact, and their share in Finnish and in Research-Council-funded projects’ publishing overall.

The report shows that publications related to SDG topics have a higher scientific impact measured with the top 10 index than Finnish publications on average. The top 10 index examines the share of publications in the most cited 10 per cent. The world average in each scientific discipline is 1. A top 10 index greater than 1 means that more than 10 per cent of a country’s publications rank among the most cited 10 per cent of publications.

Table 1. The number of publications and the top 10 index of SDG topics in Finland in 2016–2019. Several publications belong to more than one SDG topic. These duplicates have been removed from the total number of SDG publications.

Based on publication numbers, by far the most common theme in Finnish publishing regarding SDG themes is health and wellbeing with over 24,000 scientific publications published in 2016–2019. The second most publications were related to climate action (close to 5,000 publications) and life on land (over 4,600 publications).

The United Nations published the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. The Council’s report examines the first 16 goals.

Share of SDG-related publications increased in Finland

The share of publications regarding SDG themes increased in Finnish publishing between 2011–2014 and 2018–2021.

Table 2. Number of publications in SDG topics and share (%) of SDG topics in total number of publications in Finland in 2011–2014 and 2018–2021.

After the most recent examination period, SDG publications accounted for almost half of the total number of Finnish scientific publications.

All the above-mentioned results also apply to publications by projects funded by the Research Council of Finland.

The report data is based on the Web of Science databases by Clarivate Analytics. The publications in the databases are divided into topics based on mutual citations, and some topics are categorized as SDG-related. The bibliometric analysis for the data is by CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd.

The results presented here are derived from InCites Benchmarking and Analysis ® and Web of Science ® prepared by CLARIVATE ANALYTICS ®, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: © Copyright CLARIVATE ANALYTICS ® 2023. All rights reserved.

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More information:

  • Otto Auranen, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 141, tietoaineistot(at)

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