An Interview with NordSTEP editorial team members Tine Sophie Prøitz and Wieland Wermke

UtskriftWith the Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy nearing the end of its first year in publication, two of the journal’s editorial board members – Tine Sophie Prøitz and Wieland Wermke – reflect on the original goals and what they still envision for the journal moving forward.


 

Prøitz is an associate professor at Buskerud and Vestfold University College in Norway, Wermke, an assistant professor at Uppsala University and University of Gävle. Both are quick to point out the vital role they see NordSTEP playing in publishing research presenting perspectives and ideas grounded in Nordic issues that otherwise may have been stifled or overlooked.

NordSTEP builds on a vital tradition of Nordic educational policy and curriculum research that started in an international and trans-university research group, called Studies in Educational Policy and Philosophy, STEP.

“The global dialogue around education policy in general needs to be more diverse – more inclusive of thoughts and theories outside the prevailing ones represented in the bulk of the research being published today,” said Prøitz, whose own research focuses on education policy and reform, and learning outcomes.

“For the most part, it is an Anglo perspective and language – driven by developments and scientific journals based in the US and the UK —that dominates much of the education policy discourse globally,” she said. “Among our goals for the journal is to add a Scandinavian perspective to the collective dialogue – publishing research that investigates and discusses Nordic education policy.”

“While in Scandinavia, we do adapt many concepts from the US and UK, we also have a unique perspective that influences our philosophies and approach,” Wermke said, who in his research investigates the government of teachers from a comparative perspective. “ This is a unique perspective that we think should be included in the broader discourse.”

Historically, a cornerstone of the Nordic perspective Prøitz refers to has been a focus on inclusion and equity and education as a free good for everyone to acquire. “For a long time there has been an ambition to provide everyone regardless of background, upbringing or living conditions with the opportunity of education. This, and even the challenges the Nordic countries faces to this system with increasing ethnic diversity within its populations, are topics editors hope to explore through NordSTEP.

NordSTEP is supported here by an international advisory board that includes prominent education researchers from the Nordic countries, but also from the UK, Australia, the US and continental Europe. As Prøitz puts it: “We do not want to only put forward a Nordic perspective, we want to relate it to the vantage point of our colleagues from other parts of the world.”

They are eager for the journal to be recognized as a forum that encourages debate — and doesn’t shy away from varied viewpoints. Wermke reasons on the ambition of the journal: “We encourage researchers at all stages of their career employing NordSTEP. A mixture of researchers at different stages is also mirrored in NordSTEPs editorial board.
Our philosophy draws on rigid quality reviewing, but with a sensitivity of the originality of a paper submitted.”

“We look forward to an encouraging vital, varied and healthy debate;” said Prøitz, “one that is accessible to all.” “That is why, the open access approach for publishing, building on the support of a consortium of three universities, Uppsala University, University of Gävle, and Buskerud and Vestfold University College, is an important aspect of our strategy,” Wermke adds. “NordSTEP actually builds on a long tradition. Its predecessor journal, Studies in Educational Policy and Philosophy (STEP) was in 2001 the first Nordic journal in education, available open access. It was also a spring board for many researchers that are today prominent professors in the field. Furthermore, we regard an open access journal as the most democratic approach to publishing science, since it does not exclude such colleagues that do not have access to the expensive journals that dominate our field of study.”

Prøitz and Wermke, along with the rest of the journal’s editorial team, welcome submissions and proposals for special issues for this ambitious journal.

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