Jens-Christian Smeby

Editorial: five volumes published

Five volumes of Professions and Professionalism have now been published. Since the first issue was launched in 2011, we have published 66 articles including the five articles in the current issue. From the very beginning, we have emphasised a broad and interdisciplinary scope on professions, professionalization, and professionalism. We have welcomed empirical, theoretical, and review articles focusing on traditional professions as well as other knowledge-based, occupational groups approached from any perspective and discipline. Comparative studies across professions, countries, and history are particularly welcome, and we have encouraged authors to situate their works, as well as explore their relevance to the study of professions and professionals in general. A wide range of occupational groups has been addressed in the 66 published articles, all of which focus on various aspects of professional life, training, and work. The combination of regular and special issues provides the opportunity to present a field or a perspective in some depth, as do single articles on particular issues. When we established the journal, we had hoped to develop this field of research further, and to attract attention to professions and professionalism as valid research areas and perspectives. We still think that these are important goals, and we hope the journal will continue to contribute to the development of the field.

In the first issue’s editorial, we stated that to the best of our knowledge, very few of the existent English language journals specifically related to professions, professionalization, and professionalism are published worldwide on a regular basis. Even though this is still the case, we welcome a new journal, Journal of Professions and Organization, which has been established. We think this is a sign of the growing interest in the topics that are prevalent in Professions and Professionalism. While these two journals have a somewhat different focus and scope, we believe that more journals will contribute to the development of the field.

Professions and Professionalism is an international journal. So far, there has been a Nordic bias with respect to published articles as well as audience. Nevertheless, the authors who contributed to the first five volumes hail from 14 different countries; the US, the UK, India, Canada, and Australia were among the top ten visiting countries in 2015. Last year, we registered more than 18,000 article downloads. The Nordic bias is no surprise since the journal was initiated by the Nordic Network for the Study of Professions (NORDPRO), and is hosted by the Centre for the Study of Professions at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Norway. An important aim in the years to come is to increase the number of submissions, in particular, from authors outside the Nordic countries. An additional goal is to add to the number of downloads worldwide.

The fact that the journal is not published by a publishing house poses some challenges. A publishing house provides some degree of assurance of the academic standards of the journal, and aids with distribution. As stated in the first issue’s editorial, we believe that the reputation of a journal relies primarily on the quality and relevance of the articles that are published. From the very beginning, we have maintained that the articles published in the journal are held to the same academic standards set by other international journals in the social sciences. All articles are to be based on original research, and reviewed by referees whose expertise matches the topics of the given submission. In 2014, we increased the number of reviewers from two to three in order to improve our quality assurance and feedback to authors. Our rejection rate has been about 50 percent over the years. The journal is officially approved as an academic journal in Denmark, Finland, and Norway. We are included in several essential indexing databases, and by Fall 2016, we will be included in EBSCOhost’s new index, Sociology Source Ultimate. We continue to apply for inclusion in more databases as well. A significant number of notifications are also distributed when a new issue of Professions and Professionalism is published.

This journal is open-access and published online only. The electronic, open-access format contributes to the distribution and availability of the articles. Since 2014, all articles are available in EPUB, MOBI, HTML, and PDF format, all of which have led to an increase in total galley views. The frequent use of tablet and mobile phone indicates that most readers do not miss having a hard copy.

While open access has become increasingly widespread, we are also pleased that the publication of our articles is free of charge. There are no Article Processing Charges (APCs). We are grateful to the Public Knowledge Project for developing the publishing software and making it available free of charge. We are also indebted to the Learning Centre and Library at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences for their help and support and for hosting the journal, as well as to The Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS) for their publishing grant. We would also like to use this opportunity to thank the referees for their contributions.

After five years, we have considered the need to modify the aims of the journal. Since some researchers have interpreted references to the Nordic context as exclusive, these references are now omitted in order to emphasise our international focus and scope. In summary, the current aims of the journal are as follows:

  • to develop the study of professions and professionalism theoretically and empirically;

  • to contribute to the development of the study of professions and professionalism as an internationally-oriented, interdisciplinary field of research; and

  • to become an important publication channel for the international research community.

Jens-Christian Smeby, Editor in Chief