The following scenario is most likely recognizable to many readers of EASST review. You are with a group of colleagues and friends. You are possibly in a bar, in a basement, or a conference hotel. The voices heard in the room are deep in discussions about an obscure band from the 80s, the latest sci-fi craze or the interpretation of some French theorist. Critical voices delve into the state of the academic publishing system and university policies, as well as the prospects of achieving proper academic tenure any time soon. In sum, you feel slightly uneasy about the state of academia, STS and the world surrounding the ivory tower. The red wine, IPAs and umbrella drinks do nothing to help the situation. The next day you wake up with cottonmouth and a headache, but the world remains the same.
This was our situation, and of course, it still is in many ways. Four years ago, we decided to use the frustration as a catalyst for creative work. The outcome was the launch of what we considered a much-needed scientific journal, catering for the steadily growing, but somewhat disconnected Nordic STS communities, whose scholarship often falls outside the scope of disciplinary journals, while its Nordic field of enquiry sometimes come across as too exotic for the international STS mainstream. This is a paradox in a field where locally anchored and embedded knowledge has always been valued. While NJSTS is an internationally oriented journal, we also want to acknowledge that scholarship emerges from locally situated actions, networks and arenas, and that the importance of this for the scholarship produced should not be ignored.
Further, we wanted to construct an arena where upcoming and established scholars of the north could engage in each other’s work, as well as with the work of interested scholars from other regions. A related question that emerged was the following: is there anything distinctly “Nordic” about our shared breed of STS, and if so – what would this “nordicness” constitute? Thus, the idea of a Nordic Journal of Science and Technology Studies was borne.
Surprisingly, we soon learned that the formal requirements for establishing a scienti c journal were quite relaxed. They concerned avoiding institutional inbreeding, and setting up a peer review process. So we did it! At the first bi-annual Nordic STS conference in 2013, fittingly located in Hell (!), Norway, our journal was launched with serious academic discussions on the agenda. The real launch however, took place at late night hours in an overcrowded hotel room in the very same non-metaphorical Hell.
While the formalities of setting up shop are not an obstacle, we had – and still have – high ambitions for the contents of our entity. We wanted to make a journal like no other, with interesting content in innovative contexts. Now, in the journals fourth annual volume, we can look back at great individual articles and book reviews from scholars in close to all major Nordic STS communities and beyond, special issues exploring exciting themes, and interviews with big international STS-names. Our papers have spurred controversy, been debated, cited, put on curriculums and have been read and downloaded across the globe. In an age where the term “impact” seems omnipresent as academic currency, this is not too shabby for a small, independent journal. In the years ahead, we want to build on this, to make sure the journal stays an open, democratic and relevant arena for high-quality scholarly exchange in the Nordics and beyond, and an outlet that is open to engagement across arenas like science, the arts and industry. Open access on open platforms is key to this, a strategy we will continue to pursue.
To retain the vibrancy of the journal we are interested in manuscripts of different kinds. First, we seek theoretical or empirical research papers. As we do not doubt for a second that ‘the north’ is part of the globe, authors do not need to work in Nordic institutions or have a specifically Nordic focus to publish with us; we are seeking diverse scholarly contributions engaging broadly with both traditional and emerging issues in STS and surrounding scholarly fields. Second, we seek book reviews. On the one hand, we seek authors interested in reviewing specific books; on the other, we seek hints about which books we should explore. Thus, publishers and authors with new books at the intersection of science, technology, arts, media, society etc. should feel free to get in touch.
Thirdly, we are interested in more open-ended contributions. These could be short commentaries, essays, interviews, conference reports and other reflections – in principle imagination is what stops you here. Finally, we are always interested in dialogues about the possibili- ties of special issues, sections or other ideas that you might have. As a teaser, we can point out that a thematic, guest edited issue on feminist technoscience is on the agenda, so keep your eyes open for an exciting call for papers soon!
STS is increasingly becoming a global endeavor. At the same time, the local settings where STS is enacted, produce local variants, locally anchored traditions of methodology, theory development and analysis. We want contributions that balance the need to address a global audience, with care for the situatedness of the work presented. Thus, while we have mainly published contributions in English, we are also open for manuscripts in other Nordic languages.
We are a small journal, and we will not be able to compete with top journals on matters like impact factor or rating. However, we are dedicated to being better than such journals on matters of author communication, feedback and reviews. We are also quite friendly people. Therefore, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you want to discuss a manuscript or for any other reason!