02 May 2018

On May 1st, Anita Heber took over as Editor of the Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention (JSSCCP). Anita is an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department at Stockholm University’s Department of Criminology, and will hold the position of Editor of the JSSCCP for the upcoming three years.

JSSCCP is an international, peer reviewed journal that publishes Nordic research relating to criminology and crime prevention. The journal is financed by the Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology (NSfK) and the different Nordic Criminal Preventive Councils. The JSSCCP releases a new issue twice a year, and the articles are based on research conducted in the Nordic countries.

Anita Heber obtained her PhD at Stockholm University’s Department of Criminology over ten years ago, and since then she has conducted research and taught courses at Stockholm University, Södertörn University, Oxford University, and Monash University. Heber has also worked at The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå, for short), during as well as after her PhD studies. Her previous editing expertise includes work on the anthology ‘Viktimologisk forskning’ (Victimological Research), and her current work on another anthology which she is editing alongside a colleague at SU’s Department of Criminology.

Congratulations, Anita! How do you feel about your new position?

It feels great to have this work entrusted to me, and it will be fun and exciting to manage and develop the journal. I hope it will get even more attention, and attract more readers and researchers who want to publish their work with us.

Why do you think you were chosen as the new editor?

It might be because I have a broad understanding of criminological research, and since I am well acquainted with both qualitative and quantitative approaches. And while I have worked at Universities, I’ve also worked at The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention and for both Stockholm and Gothenburg municipalities. And I think NSfK might have liked my ideas about what to do to make the journal even better.

What is the first thing you want to do as the new editor in chief?

One thing I want to do early on is to start some social media outlets for the journal. The journal has a lot of great articles and it would be good if more people heard about them and wanted to read them. Our goal is to have more followers on Twitter than Donald Trump, haha!

But before that I have to learn the ropes. I’m having a meeting with my predecessor, and with the publisher and with the NSfK council. I’ve also recruited an assistant, Tea Fredriksson, who is a PhD student at Stockholm Uni. We’re going to get together and discuss how to handle the tasks ahead.

And then what?

Next year, 2019, I want to instate an award for the best article of the year. Good research is worthy of note, and I think an award might make more people acknowledge the research we publish.

I’ve also thought about giving the journal a shorter, more memorable name that includes the Nordic countries rather than just Scandinavia. Nordic Journal of Criminology would be nice, don’t you think? I know a name change would be welcome, but of course it might be tricky as well. I’ll have to consider if and how to go about that smoothly.

What part do you see JSSCCP as playing in the field of Nordic criminological research?

This is the only criminological journal that both focuses on the North and reaches the English speaking public. Since a lot of people are interested in what is happening in Nordic criminology this is a good way for them to stay informed, and for Nordic research to communicate with a broader public. I think it’s important that we cherish that opportunity.

How could this be further developed?

I want to both maintain what the journal signifies today and develop that brand. I think we can achieve this by highlighting the articles we publish at conferences, perhaps by hosting our own panels. I also think a social media presence, changing the journal’s name, and focusing on occasional special issues would develop the journal’s brand.

In your application for the position, you write that you would like to dedicate parts of an issue to a particular criminological topic, and suggest the debate regarding Nordic Exceptionalism. Why do you think that is a good place to start, and do you have more topics in mind?

I think that the debate surrounding Nordic exceptionalism is interesting, since it touches upon so many aspects of Nordic societies; punishment, welfare, human rights, crime policy, and the media. However, this debate hasn’t really been present in the JSSCCP but rather in other journals and books.

But I have a bunch of other suggestions too, mostly regarding topics where there is a notable difference between Nordic and many other countries: prison research, police research, state crime, organized crime, media, hate crime, drugs, crime victims, crime policy… so it would be fun to group articles on these topics in special issues. Once I have more experience as an editor I would like to be more active in inviting scholars to submit to special issues on predetermined topics.

The first issue of Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention with Anita Heber as editor in chief will be released in November 2018.

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