If you have not yet found the information you are looking for, please see the frequently asked questions below.

Questions about the classification levels

The Thomson Reuters journal impact factor (JIF) varies between disciplines and research fields and therefore there may be even major differences among the journals awarded the same Level by the various Panels (e.g., the Chemistry Panel and the Materials Technology Panel). JIF is not necessarily comparable even within the fields represented by one single Panel, as it may depend on the size of the field, the reference practices in use and several other factors.

In fact, the Panels have been instructed to pay attention to the share of different research fields included in the higher levels. As a consequence, Level 1 journals evaluated by one single Panel may have a higher JIF than certain Level 2 journals. Certain Panels have given more weight to JIFs compared to other impact and quality indicators provided as a support to the Panel’s evaluation work (Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP), SCImago Journal Rank (SJR), European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) as well as the Norwegian and Danish classifications).

Citation indicators also vary according to article types. Review articles gain more citations on average, compared to original articles, and therefore review journals have relatively high impact factors. Panels have been asked to make sure that Levels 2 and 3 do not include disproportionate numbers of journals with review articles. This means that review journals with a higher JIF may have a lower rating than journals with a lower JIF publishing original research.

'Publication volume’ refers to the number of Finnish or foreign scientific articles published annually in the publication series (three-year average). In the review of ratings, the Panel could set the rating of 20% of the aggregate article numbers of the series in their lists (Levels 1-3) to Level 2 and, correspondingly, 25% of the aggregate article numbers of the Level 2 series to Level 3.  Earlier, the same percentages were calculated from the number of journal titles which resulted, on the article level, in an unequal outcome among the various disciplines; the leading journals in many fields of Science and Medicine have the largest volumes. In turn, in Social Sciences and Humanities the research problems associated with certain cultural and historical situations also play an important role. In these fields, the research paradigms and questions are versatile, and publication is dispersed in relatively small international and national journals.

Starting from the year 2015, the categories are determined on the basis of the publication volume of journals and series (i.e., the number of articles), no longer on the basis of journal or series titles.  Due to this change, the Publication Forum rating criteria became tougher in almost all disciplines in 2015. The change was most marked in the areas covered by the Sciences and Medicine Panels: Level 2 now includes about 7–9 per cent of the publication titles (compared with 20 per cent in precedence). The share of the Level 3 publication series varies between 1–3 per cent from Panel to Panel (earlier 5 per cent). The journals publishing original research were favoured over review journals, even if the latter boast higher impact factors.

The quotas based on numbers of articles were introduced to ensure equal treatment of various disciplines. The level-specific quotas are determined in a similar way in the Norwegian and Danish classifications.

In order to keep the classification reliable and updated, it is important to be able to adjust the classification levels if necessary. The review of ratings performed at four-year intervals means that a publication channel now at Level 1, 2 or 3 can be rated higher or lower, or its level can remain unchanged.

The rating for a book or article is determined on the basis of the Level which was in effect when it was published. If the publication channel was not yet classified in the year of publication, the Level used is the first one awarded to the publication channel in question. For example, if the publication year is 2013 and the channel was evaluated for the first time in 2014, the publication is awarded the Level on the basis of the rating made in 2014.

The preceding ratings are included in the publication channel search.

This is not a category where publication channels are placed under determined criteria. It only means that the publication channel in question does not, in the judgement of the evaluation Panels, meet some of the Level 1 criteria. This group includes many types of publication channels of varying quality, from professional journals and suspicious open access journals to university publication series. An otherwise valid publication channel may first be rated 0 if it is only recently established and the Panel is not yet able to evaluate its contents.

Level 0 does not attach any particular status to the publication channel: from the classification point of view it equals any publication channel not included in the Publication Forum. The purpose of the Publication Forum is not to list all existing publication channels but only those academic channels that are relevant to the Finnish scientific community (mostly containing type A1-A4 and C1 publications). Level 0 is thus not a specific Publication Forum rating for professional, popular or other non-peer-reviewed publication channels.

Earlier, this category was referred to as “other identified publication channels” and its level was marked with a hyphen (-). However, in the Decree by the Ministry of Education and Culture on the Calculation criteria of the basic funding appropriated to universities (FinLex 526/2014, in Finnish only), reference is made to “Level 0 publications”. Therefore, the Steering Group decided to harmonise the naming and marking practices. As a consequence, publication channels other than those awarded the Publication Forum Level 1, 2 or 3 rating are included in “Level 0”, also marked as 0 in the publication channel search.

Questions on the use of the classification and funding model

Publication operations account for 13 per cent of the basic funding appropriated from State funds to universities. Only peer-reviewed articles and books (in other words, publication types A1, A2, A3, A4 and C1-C2 as defined by the Ministry of Education and Culture) are weighed using the Publication Forum Level awarded to the publication channel in question. The coefficient used for monographs is four times that of articles.

In the funding model taking effect 1st of January 2017 the coefficients are as follows:

Types A1-A4 and C2 publications weighed using the Publication Forum rating

  • Level 0 publications, coefficient 0,1
  • Level 1 publications, coefficient 1
  • Level 2 publications, coefficient 3
  • Level 3 publications, coefficient 4

Type C1 publications weighed using the Publication Forum rating

  • Level 0 publications, coefficient 0,4
  • Level 1 publications, coefficient 4
  • Level 2 publications, coefficient 12
  • Level 3 publications, coefficient 16

Professional and popular articles as well as non-refereed scientific articles have the weight coefficient 0,1 and books 0,4 irrespective of their publication channel.

The Publication Forum classification is intended for the evaluation of large publication volumes. In the university funding model, the focus at each given time is on over 70,000 peer-reviewed articles and books produced by the universities over the past three years.  However, the reliability of the publication channel-based metrics is compromised if the quantity of the publications examined is fairly small which is normally the case in the evaluations focusing on an individual researcher.

The Publication Forum rating awarded to a publication channel is indicative of the average level of the competition and peer-reviews passed by the articles and books. However, well appreciated high-level publication channels also contain poorer publications with a modest impact. Correspondingly, lower-level publication channels include publications that prove to have a very high impact. Also, the decision to publish an article is influenced by many factors, such as the publicity value of the research topic or the visibility of the researcher which, as a premise, puts the researchers on an uneven platform. The evaluation of individual researcher merely on the basis of the publication channels in which they have published may thus lead to incorrect conclusions.

Due to the quotas, Level 3 can contain fewer than 5 per cent of all publication series, and therefore it is impossible to meet the objective of having at least one journal per each speciality in the highest Level. Researchers are the best experts in their own fields, and they must have the liberty to publish where they think is most appropriate. The most purposeful channel may be Level 1 or even non-rated. The majority of the rated publication channels are Level 1 and this group includes a lot of high-quality series publishing relevant scientific research.

Questions on various publication types

When looking at conference publications, the best way is to start with the publication type classification: is it a publication type defined in the MinEdu data collection system as “peer-reviewed article in conference proceedings” (A4)?  If the conference is a one-off event resulting in a scientific compilation, it will be a “peer-reviewed article in a scientific compilation” (A3). “Peer-reviewed article in conference proceedings” (A4) only includes full-length peer-reviewed articles published in the proceedings of regularly running conferences. Publication type A4 is typical of Computer and Information Sciences and Technology while in other disciplines, the publications based on conference papers are more compatible with publication types A1 or A3.

The Publication Forum Level of peer-reviewed articles in conference proceedings (A4) is primarily determined on the basis of the level awarded to the conference publishing it. If the conference has not been rated the articles will receive a Level according to the serial or monographic series in which the articles have been published. If the proceedings do not appear in a series, the Level is determined by the publisher.

Conferences are evaluated for the reason that the level of conference publications cannot necessarily be determined in a sufficiently accurate way on the basis of wide-ranging series or book publishers. In Technology, Engineering and Computer and Information Science, regular scientific conferences are important publication channels parallel to journals. This is why Panel 2: Computer and information sciences and Panel 9: Electrical and electronic engineering, information engineering have the opportunity to rate individual conferences separate from the series or publisher. In these cases, the publication channels are listed under the established name of the event and the publication channel type is “conference”.

Publication Forum does not evaluate one-off events or list each year's conference separately. This also applies to irregular joint conference type events.

The process of registering conferences changed in June 2016, for more information please see this notice.

Publication Forum seeks to account for the various publication cultures and practices of different disciplines. Humanists and social scientists publish a significant share of their work in the form of monographs and articles in compilations.  Since it has not been found rational to list and evaluate thousands of foreign monographic series in the Publication Forum, book publishers have been awarded a rating. However, domestic monographic series have been classified, and the scholarly books published by a Finnish book publisher are awarded a rating primarily on the basis of the series. Book publishers are now also included in Level 3, starting from the year 2015 (earlier they were only Level 1 or 2).

The book publisher does not need to limit itself to scholarly books to be included in the rating system. However, the publisher must be specialised in academic publishing, and as far as the scholarly books are concerned (A3, C1), the operations must meet the criteria of Level 1 quality and peer-review practices.

Questions on publication channel searches and proposals

The bibliographic data of the publication channels must be checked and time must also be reserved for the Panels to evaluate the proposed channels. There are hundreds of proposals every year. For this reason, the proposal handling and evaluation process may take a few months. We would be grateful if you could make the proposal using the web-based form so that it will be stored, with the supporting argumentation, directly in our database.

An empty space means that the publication channel is being evaluated and has not yet been awarded a rating. Once the evaluation has been finalised, you can check the respective rating using the publication channel search.

Please check you have written the title or name correctly and your search does not contain unnecessary or incorrent filters or search terms. When looking for series, it is easiest to use the ISSN number while a specific conference is best found using its abbreviation, so that the variant forms of the name will not interfere with the search. You can also download all publication channels on an Excel sheet. If the publication channel you are looking for has not yet been evaluated by the Publication Forum Panels, but you find it meets the criteria of a scientific publication, you can make your proposal on it.

Please read the Publication Forum evaluation criteria.

If the series or book publisher you represent meets all Level 1 criteria, you can propose it to the Publication Forum. Please ensure that the website of the publication channel has all the information necessary for the evaluation: composition of the editorial board, peer-review practice, at least a few text samples. The journals proposed must have an ISSN number and book publishers an ISBN number. Individual conferences will be classified only in those exceptional cases in which the level of the conference papers deviates from the determined level of the series (eg. Lecture Notes in Computer Science) or the publisher (eg. IEEE or ACM) serving as publication channel.

If you see that your publication channel does not meet the scientific criteria, you should not propose it to the Publication Forum. Proposals regarding newspapers, blogs and corresponding channels will not be taken up at all.

Updated 11.10.2016