A New Nordic Journal With a “No-Bullshit” Open Access Model

A new star has been born on the academic Nordic journal scene: the Journal of Digital Social Research, launched last year to promote high-impact interdisciplinary Open Access publishing. We talked to the editor-in-chief Simon Lindgren from Umeå University.

Journal of Digital Social Research, JDSR. This is the name of the newest Nordic media research journal.

The idea for a new journal was to provide a publishing platform with a “truly interdisciplinary focus on digital society”, says the editor-in-chief, Simon Lindgren, professor in sociology at the Department of Sociology at Umeå University.

– We wanted to create a journal designed to accommodate the best aspects of the field of digital social research, in being interdisciplinary, international, online, and truly open access.

With regard to the rapid growth of interest in studies on digital society, aren’t there similar journals already?

– Many existing avenues of publication are quite specialised, for example, on Internet research, issues of communication, or on technological aspects. We want to provide a broader forum that can fit all of the above and more. We will, for example, publish papers similar to those that could go in new media studies journals, but also those that would fit in computer science, philosophy, business, or law journals, explains Simon Lindgren.

“By academics for academics”

In addition, professor Lindgren says, the journal wants to stand out by their “no-bullshit” open access model – as they describe it on their webpage: “JDSR is a full (no bullshit) open access journal (naturally)”.

– While there are good journals out there that publish digital social research, many of them are affiliated with corporate publishers that earn money from the work of academics. The editorial team of JDSR has a strong belief in full open access publishing. The journal is run by academics for academics, Lindgren highlights.

Articles are published under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence. This Creative Commons license enables users to copy and redistribute the material as such in any medium or format by mentioning the author, except for commercial purposes.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Indeed, the umbrella term “open access” encompasses a wide range of publishing practices, with a varying grade of openness. In DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals, more than a half of the journals classified as “open access” (58 %) employ the license CC BY, thus posing various restrictions for the use of their content. Only 16 per cent of the journals are licensed as CC BY-NC-ND.

– In that sense, we have an affinity with journals such as First Monday, a journal devoted to the Internet and launched as early as 1996, and TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, started in 2003, says Simon Lindgren.

Pursuing a high level of impact

– JDSR has been set up in accordance with all measures needed for being catalogued and indexed. We aim to provide a journal with a level of impact, which will make it an attractive place for international academics to publish their work.

We are just getting started, but we plan to keep the journal running in a long-term perspective.

The journal is published by DIGSUM, the centre for digital social research at Umeå University in Northern Sweden. The centre, led by Simon Lindgren, consists of a number of research clusters united by an interest in questions about society, digital media, and digital technologies.

The hosts at the DIGSUM are currently applying for various journal grants.

– However, obviously, launching something like this also relies on having a team of scholars, editors, and reviewers who are excited enough about the idea to be willing to put in extra effort for the cause, admits Simon Lindgren.

Format-free submission

The next themed issue will come out during the autumn, focused on social perspectives of artificial intelligence (AI). They also just published a call for papers for an issue on gender, sexuality, and embodiment in digital spheres. In addition, the journal accepts papers for non-themed issues on a running basis.

What is interesting is that the journal employs no maximal, minimal, or preferred length for texts. In the submission guidelines, it says that “a submission should be no longer than necessary”. The submission is also format-free, which means that submissions don’t have to follow the journal’s style guide at the review stage.

– We hope that members of the NordMedia Network will consider JDSR for their future manuscripts, says Simon Lindgren.

Journal of Digital Social Research (JDSR)

  • A peer-reviewed open-access journal focusing on the relationship between digital technology and society.
  • Established in 2019.
  • Published by DIGSUM, the Centre for Digital Social Research at Umeå University, Sweden.
  • Editor-in-chief, six editors and an editorial assistant.
  • An international editorial board with, among others, Nick Couldry, José van Dijk and Christian Fuchs.
  • See submission guidelines.
  • Visit the journal’s webpage arrow_forward
    Journal of Digital Social Research (JDSR)