Nordicom Adds New Quality Label to Their Open Access Books

Nordicom, publishing Open Access books with a Nordic connection, now partners with Kriterium, a platform providing peer review, publication and dissemination of academic books. With a specific goal of improving the status of Swedish researchers and research with a connection to Sweden, Kriterium is a natural complement to Nordicom’s mission of developing knowledge about the role of media in Nordic societies and Nordic media’s influence internationally.

While scientific journals remain important, they nevertheless have drawbacks, such as word limits, which also constrain the possibilities of elaborating on findings, providing counterarguments, or discussing an argument’s nuances. 

– Articles are a good way to present research results, but findings within the social sciences, involving human behaviour, may not always be very straightforward, states Johannes Bjerling, editor at Nordicom.

A monograph or anthology offers the opportunity to present in-depth or diverse perspectives, but often don’t receive the same attention as scholarly journals because they don’t have systematic and explicit quality control.

“Authors will get a thorough peer review of their work. Each Kriterium-project has a specially assigned editor, who in turn suggests two independent reviewers”. – Åsa Arping

The new collaboration between Kriterium and Nordicom highlights the benefits and possibilities of books and brings a higher element of quality to the books published by Nordicom. 

– The collaboration with Kriterium is an important step in our long-term aim to strengthen the quality of the research that we publish at Nordicom and to make us a more attractive publisher to Nordic researchers in our field, says Jonas Ohlsson, director and editor-in-chief at Nordicom.

Though any peer-review process may have flaws, explains Bjerling, “in the end, they tend to increase the quality of what is being published. Therefore, I am very happy about the collaboration with Kriterium”.   

Providing access to expert reviewers

It can be difficult for smaller publishers within academia, especially in a small country like Sweden, to secure expert reviewers. Åsa Arping, professor of comparative literature at the University of Gothenburg and editor-in-chief at Kriterium, emphasises the importance of providing access to expert reviewers, since many researchers in Sweden experience difficulty in getting their books reviewed in a systematic way. 

– Since we are funded by the Swedish Research Council, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, and member universities, we have chosen to concentrate our services on researchers active in Sweden, Arping explains.

“We are a small publisher with big aspirations”. – Jonas Ohlsson

This focus is complementary to Nordicom’s objectives, which include promoting new Nordic media and communication research written in both English and Scandinavian languages and increasing free access and dissemination of such research.

Though mostly reviewing works in English and Swedish, Kriterium considers books written in other languages as well, as long as there are possible reviewers. According to Arping, “We have also published critical editions and translations in Ancient Greek and old Tibetan. In these, the introduction is in English or Swedish”.

– Nordicom is an independent non-profit publisher and our philosophy when it comes to the importance of free dissemination of new research, not only in English but also in the Scandinavian languages, is very much in line with that of Kriterium, Ohlsson maintains. 

Increased readership

The collaboration is expected to increase dissemination. All books peer reviewed by Kriterium are listed on the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) that is used by service providers and libraries to harvest metadata. Inclusion means that books published by Nordicom can be found in library databases worldwide, allowing them to reach audiences beyond that of niche Nordic media and communication circles.

– Authors will potentially achieve great dissemination of their research results, since works published with a Kriterium label are made available both in printed and digital form. And digital versions are in turn accessible at the websites of both Kriterium and the publisher (Nordicom), and searchable/accessible through several research databases and digital identifiers, Arping further explains.

“We should all win from this collaboration”. – Johannes Bjerling

Open Access is the policy from both the EU and several major donors, Arping says, but she stresses that while Kriterium adapts to this, they also recognise the significance of preserving the printed book. 

– We are positive about the increased availability, but at the same time believe that it is important to maintain and develop the printed book as a publication form, Arping says.

Treating Open Access as a complement to printed books, Kriterium maximises the opportunities for dissemination of the books that receive their stamp of approval.

Supporting researchers

There are further advantages beyond the formalised quality check, Bjerling maintains, making it even more inviting to submit a book proposal to Nordicom. 

– The fact that these books render the authors publishing points – Kriterium appears on the Norwegian list – should, hopefully, increase the attractiveness of publishing books with us, Bjerling states 

Ohlsson maintains that this partnership will enable a better practice of both strengthening the quality of research published by Nordicom and freely disseminating Nordic research written in the Scandinavian languages and English.

“We want to see more books within our field – not fewer”. – Johannes Bjerling

– Nordicom is an independent non-profit publisher and our philosophy when it comes to the importance of free dissemination of new research, not only in English but also in the Scandinavian languages, is very much in line with that of Kriterium, Ohlsson reflects.

Are you interested in publishing with Nordicom?

Nordicom hosts a complete in-house editorial team, devoted to providing personalised and professional service and minimising the length of the publication process. A dedicated editor will be a direct contact during the writing and evaluation processes, and a dedicated managing editor will guide you through the production stages and publication process.

Communication officers assist with promotional activities and marketing, and work to increase the readership of all Nordicom publications. Books published by Nordicom are Open Access and available to read free of charge, with the option to purchase printed copies.

In the interest of promoting Nordic media and communication research, Nordicom welcomes book proposals with relevance to, for example, democracy, welfare, gender equality, freedom of expression, public service and media structure. Proposals with topics high on the public or political agenda or with potential policy implications are particularly welcome.

About Kriterium

Kriterium is a collaborative venture between Swedish universities and Swedish publishers, with representatives from the Swedish Research Council, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the National Library of Sweden.

Visit Kriterium’s website: 

For more about the collaboration between Nordicom and Kriterium, or to submit a book proposal, please contact Johannes Bjerling, editor at Nordicom