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A few minutes with Cecilia Åsberg...

... researcher at Gender Studies, and resigning editor-in-chief of NORA, Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, which has received nothing but praise.

NORA is a gender research journal for the Nordic countries, which according to its evaluators maintains high scientific quality and is of great significance for gender research both in the Nordic countries and internationally. How has the editorial group worked to achieve this?

Cecilia Åsberg

“We’ve worked in a small editorial team supplemented by a Junior Editorial Board for training young up-and-coming researchers in conditions for academic publication. It was also an opening for the work we did on increasing NORA’s visibility in the world of research.

“We’ve also launched special numbers of NORA at international conferences and in digital and social media to get researchers to click and read the articles. We also introduced an electronic manuscript centre that resulted in more and better articles in terms of quality. We went from a dozen submitted manuscripts to over one hundred, but we still have a 40 % acceptance rate.

“We also introduced new text formats, such as ‘short position papers’ in a series we called ‘Taking Turns’ where pre-eminent Nordic and international researchers could provide their perspectives on new developments within the field.”

You’ve been editor-in-chief for the last three years, with Malin Rönnblom in Umeå as co-editor; what has been your greatest challenge?
“Managing the dramatic increase of submitted articles, but also finding qualified peer reviewers. We thought it would be a challenge to work long-distance with each other, but in fact it was never a problem.”

What are you most satisfied with?
“That external international reviewers subsequently gave NORA top marks. I’m also satisfied that NORA’s interdisciplinary ambitions succeeded in also opening up to gender research interests in natural sciences and medicine. As a researcher, critical creativity and daring interdisciplinary collaboration lies close to my heart.

What makes NORA interesting for gender researchers outside the Nordic countries?
“Nordic gender research, with Nordic conceptual debates or empiricism, can give the otherwise Anglo-Saxon dominated world of research another angle. This has gotten researchers around the world to read NORA and send in contributions. We’ve gotten many non-Nordic contributions, for example from Australia, the Netherlands, and Estonia, as there are also well-established gender research and exciting debates there. Or, as in the former Eastern Bloc countries, because there are broad research debates starting up and because they’re keeping an interested eye on the development of Nordic research policy. The Nordic situation opens the way for exciting comparisons, for example concerning gender equality policies.”

“In addition, NORA publishes a great deal that easily can be useful in undergraduate and postgraduate education, for example position papers and review essays.”

“Plus, after all, NORA is the only peer-reviewed journal in the Nordic countries that’s regularly published in English.”

What will happen to NORA when the editorship leaves LiU?
“By tradition NORA moves from place to place, three years at a time and four issues a year, between Nordic institutions of learning where there is pre-eminent gender research. We’re now leaving editorship to an exciting Danish team, led by Pauline Stoltz at Aalborg University, and with Kirsten Hvenegård-Lassen at Roskilde University.

“NORA is additionally celebrating its 20th anniversary with a special issue that will come out at the end of 2013 about power and resistance in relation to feminist research. It will be very exciting!”

NORA, Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, on the homepage of publisher Taylor & Francis

Picture: Cecilia Åsberg, photo by Jenny Ahlgren

Birgitta Weibull 2013-02-07

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Last updated: 2017-02-13