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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

For a Special Issue on
University Rankings in the Nordic Countries: Impacts on Policy and Practice

Abstract deadline
31 January 2022

Manuscript deadline
31 July 2022

Cover image - Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

Special Issue Editor(s)

Jani Ursin, University of Jyväskylä
[email protected]

Ellen Hazelkorn, Technological University Dublin
[email protected]

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University Rankings in the Nordic Countries: Impacts on Policy and Practice

University rankings have not only reshaped the landscape of higher education but they have become important instruments for higher education institutions (HEIs) to weight their value in the global higher education markets and for students to choose their study places and programmes (Hazelkorn 2011). Although rankings, such as the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), are not the sole indicators of institution’s reputation and academic excellence, they provide a quantitative and popular way to benchmark universities nationally, regionally, and globally. This is despite the fact that the league tables of universities embody a plethora of social, ethical and methodological issues and anomalies (e.g. Amsler & Bolsmann 2012; Marginson 2007; Shahjahan, Bylsma & Singai 2021; Soh 2017). While the university rankings have become a key driver of institutional prestige and as a means to establish criteria of educational value in the countries such as United Kingdom and United States (Broecke 2015; Pusser & Marginson 2013) some countries like China are beginning to move away from global rankings because of its effect on the HE system, diversity and definitions of excellence. Nonetheless, there are less evidence on the role and relevance of the university rankings in the Nordic higher education. Elken, Hovdhaugen and Stensaker (2016) found out that in the Nordic region global university rankings seem to have a modest impact on HEIs and on their identities. Therefore, do university rankings matter in the Nordic context?

This special issue of Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research (SJER) is seeking high-quality papers on the theme of university rankings in order to deepen our understanding of the impact of rankings on policy and practice across Nordic higher education. In line with the journal’s scope we encourage papers that look at university rankings from various disciplinary and methodological traditions and are theoretical, conceptual or empirical. We encourage prospective authors to submit original contributions with novel approaches. It is important that papers are relevant to/for Nordic higher education. Topics of interest for the special issue include, but are not limited to the following:

  • history of university rankings
  • university rankings and HE policy (e.g. how post-pandemic times and geopolitical tensions may change attitudes to and uses of rankings)
  • the business of rankings and interlinks with publishing and big data
  • university rankings and the management of HEIs
  • university rankings, academic work and identities
  • university rankings and their implications for student choice, student learning and student satisfaction
  • university rankings and reputation of HEIs
  • university rankings and academic freedom
  • critical perspectives to university rankings (e.g. scrutinization of the criteria/principles used in the rankings; possibility of achieving a rational ranking of universities)

Submission Instructions

There is a two-phased process for submission:

  1. Authors are asked to submit an abstract of 200 - 300 words setting out an overview of the article, methodology, and relevance to Nordic countries. The abstracts should be sent via email to both the guest editors.
  2. Accepted abstracts are asked to be developed into full papers and to be submitted to SJER through ScholarOne. Please select the special issue title ‘University rankings in the Nordic countries: impacts on policy and practice’ when submitting your paper to ScholarOne. A typical paper should be between 6000 and 8000 words. The special issue will include around 10 full articles.

Expected Timetable

  • Deadline for abstract submission:31 January 2022
  • Decision on abstracts: 15 February 2022
  • Deadline for full papers: 31 July 2022
  • Expected publication of the special issue: first half of 2023

Further information

Please contact Jani Ursin, [email protected]

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