Swedish Publications in a Global World


  • Jenny Björkman Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ), The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, Sweden




Peer review, publishing, internationalisation, impact, excellence


This paper is about the problems of publishing in a global academic world. The Swedish monograph is slowly in decline in Sweden. The international peer-reviewed article is taking its place. Yet just as the monograph has had problems, this newer trend has multiple new quandaries. Instead of being read by a larger international audience, some articles tend to stay unread when neither the national nor the international public can find the results. Social scientists and humanities lack a specific venue or scene where results can be discussed by both experts and the public, such as Science or Nature. This is a problem since the public miss out on important, often tax-funded, knowledge, but also because academics miss out on having an audience and the impact that comes from meeting with the public.

Secondly many journals are so specialised that they influence not only the public’s understanding of research and their view on research but also the research and the researchers. Furthermore academics lack both the time to read all relevant articles and to write longer and more complex works, which would be beneficial to both the public and scholars as well. Therefore the race to get published, i.e. achieve excellence and have more impact, tends to affect the research. Researcher may even choose their subjects and how they write about them in order to get published rather than focusing on interesting questions.

Naturally possible solutions have been discussed, such as open access books and more stringent demands on the impact of the research and relevance to the public. However there are still no absolute answers.


A National Consortium for Open Academic Books in Sweden: An investigation funded by National Library of Sweden, Swedish Research Council and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond 2013.

Anderson, Warwick (2013): “Quality not quantity: measuring the impact of published research”, the Conversation, http://theconversation.com/quality-not-quantity-measuring-the-impact-of-published-research-18270.

Bernhardsson, Katarina (2015): “Open access: expansion from articles to books?”, Jenny Björkman & Björn Fjaestad (eds) Thinking Ahead. Research, funding and the future, Makadam förlag Stockholm.

Bohannon, John (2013): “Who’s afraid of Peer Review?” Science, vol. 342, no 6154:60-65. DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6154.60

Butler, Declan (2013): “The Dark Side of Publishing: The explosion in open-access publishing has fuelled the rise of questionable operators”, Nature vol. 495:433-435. DOI: 10.1038/495433a

Butler, Nick & Sverre Spoelstra (2012): “Your excellency” Organization November 2012 19: 891-903. DOI: 10.1177/1350508412454513

Butler, Nick & Sverre Spoelstra (2014): “The Regim of excellence and the Erosion of Ethos in Critical Management Studies” British Journal of Management vol. 24 issue 3: 38–550.

Butler, Nick & Sverre Spoelstra (2015): ”Faran med excellent forskning” http://debatt.rj.se/?p=306

Djupsund, Göran (2015): “Features common to excellent research”, Jenny Björkman & Björn Fjaestad (eds) Thinking Ahead. Research, funding and the future, Makadam förlag Stockholm.

Eyre-Walker, Adam & Nina Stoletzki (2013): “The Assessment of Science: The Relative Merits of Post-Publication Review, the Impact and the Number of Citations” Plos Biology 11(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001675

Lars Grahn (2015), ”Kritiken av kritiken gäller mer än skönlitteratur”, Dagens Nyheter 2015-03-18, http://www.dn.se/kultur-noje/kulturdebatt/kritiken-av-kritiken-galler-mer-an-skonlitteratur/.

Holmberg, Gustav (2010): http://www.gustavholmberg.com/tomrum/2010/08/04/kultursidor-och-facklitteratur/.

Kirschner, Marc (2013): “A Perverted View of ”Impact””, Science 14, 2013. DOI: 10.1126/science.1240456

Kendall, Graham (2015): “The future of scientific publishing: let’s make sure it’s fair as well as transparent”, the Conversation, http://theconversation.com/the-future-of-scientific-publishing-lets-make-sure-its-fair-as-well-as-transparent-48900.

Lambert, Craig (2015): “The Wild West of Academic Publishing” Harvard Magazine, January-Februari 2015.

Langfeldt, Liv & Svein Kyvik (2011): “Researchers as evaluators: tasks, tensions and politics” Higher Education 2011, vol. 62, issue 2. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-010-9382-y

Löfgren, Orvar (2015): “Applying for research funds - an emotional chapter” Jenny Björkman & Björn Fjaestad (eds) Thinking Ahead. Research, funding and the future, Makadam förlag Stockholm.

Mobilising Swedish Social Science Research on Sustainability – en Evaluation of Sweidsh Social Science Research on Sustainability, R3:2010, Stockholm.

Publish or perish? a seminar held by the Swedish Young Academy (http://www.sverigesungaakademi.se/665.html).

Rubenson, David (2013): “Opinion: Communication Crisis in Research”, http://www.thescientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34196/title/Opinion--Communication-Crisis-in-Research/.

Samuelsson, MarieLouise (2014): Riksbankens Jubileumsfond: 50 år av nyfikenhet, Stockholm.

Smith, Timothy (2013): “Scientists must share early and share often to boost citations” the Conversation, http://theconversation.com/scientists-must-share-early-and-share-often-to-boost-citations-18699.

Suber, Peter (2012): Open Access, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

Torstendahl, Rolf (1988): “Minimumkrav och optimumnormer i svensk historieskrivning 1920-1960”, Rolf Torsendahl & Thorsten Nybom (eds.) Historievetenskap som teori, praktik, ideologi, Stockholm.

Wiberg, Erik (2014): Bokförsäljningsstatistiken. Svenska Bokhandlareföreningen och Svenska Förläggareföreningen, Stockholm: http://www.forlaggare.se/sites/default/files/bokforsaljningsstatistiken_rapport_140924.pdf .

Andrew Whitehouse (2015): “The scientific publishing culture is broken – can it be rescued?”, the Conversation, http://theconversation.com/the-scientific-publishing-culture-is-broken-can-it-be-rescued-38525.

Östlund, Helena (2015) ”Ett hav av olästa texter”, Curie, http://www.tidningencurie.se/22/nyheter/nyheter/2015-11-03-ett-hav-av-olasta-forskartexter-.html




How to Cite

Björkman, J. (2015) “Swedish Publications in a Global World”, Culture Unbound, 7(4), pp. 576–587. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1573576.



Theme: Publishing for Public Knowledge