Policy paper (Updated 2018)

Nordic Educational Research Association [NERA] Policy on Network and NERA congress

NERA Network Organization

The main purpose of establishing networks within NERA is to facilitate and foster dialogue, discussion and collaboration between Nordic researchers, educators and practitioners in the field of education. A network organizes meetings and sessions in connection with NERA’s annual congress and serve as a meeting ground for researchers, and other interested people, within the field of education.

Each NERA Network is expected to have a convener and the members of the network should represent at least three different Nordic countries. The convener is a researcher on Ph.D. level in the field.

The Network Convener

The role of the convener varies from network to network, depending in part upon the size and aspirations of the network.

The main responsibilities for all network conveners are:

  1. To communicate with network members before, during, and between the annual NERA congress
  2. To maintain contact with the NERA board through the network coordinator and the organizing committee of the NERA congress
  3. To maintain and update the network´s homepage
  4. To arrange a network meeting at the annual congress
  5. To organize network activities at the NERA congress in close collaboration with the organizing committee of the NERA congress. The conveners are responsible for organizing a blind review of all the abstracts related to the paper sessions, symposia, roundtables and workshops that are to take place within the network. However, the organizing committee has the administrative authority to place these activities within the overall program.
  6. To prepare a schedule for the paper sessions in collaboration with the organizing committee.
  7. The convener appoints the chairs and send out guidelines to them.
  8. To attend the annual convener meeting and the Annual Delegates Assembly [ADA] at the NERA congress


Networks and the NERA web site

The convener is responsible for updating the network’s website, including description of the aims and intentions of the network. The description must have a minimum of 300 words in English.


Annual report

The convener is obliged to give an annual report on the activities of the network, including the minutes from the network meeting at the NERA congress. The report form can be downloaded here. The convener sends the report to the network coordinator by 15th of April.


Support to network activities

Networks that before deadline have sent in an annual report to the NERA board can apply for support for networks activities.

  1. The NERA board will in accordance with available economic means support network activities. Support will only be given to network activities between the congress, such as activities for PhD-students or symposia in connection with pre- or post-NERA network congress. The activities should be open to the whole network and encourage collaboration between all members in the network.
  2. Support may be given for travel and diet costs for invited lecturer/s and coffee /snacks to the network participants. Support may also be given to a dinner for a limited organizing group together with the invited lecturer/s.
  3. Support is not given for travel or diet costs to the network participants. Neither is salary/honorarium to invited lecturer/s an accepted expense.
  4. Documentation for all expenditures must be sent to the treasurer of NERA no later than one month after the NERA congress has taken place.

A short report of the supported activities shall be sent to the network coordinator no later than one month after the NERA Congress has taken place.



Procedures for establishing and closing networks



Procedure for establishing a network

  1. An application for establishing a new network within NERA is to be sent to the NERA president and to the network coordinator not later than 1st of August, by the aspiring convener.
  2. In order to hold a position as convener for a NERA network one needs to have an academic degree of not less than a PhD. A network has to represent at least three different Nordic countries and it has to consists of 25 researchers or more.
  3. A NERA network must be representing a tradition of thought and/or a field of research in education. A description of research interests within such a tradition and/or field of research should be included in the application in a 500 word abstract in addition to 3-5 key words.
  4. Rationales should be provided in the application on why the researchers of the new suggested network cannot join already existing networks.
  5. The aspiring convener is responsible for the application and that the application as well as the future activities of the network is in line with NERA policies.


Procedure for closing a network

The Annual Delegates Assembly can upon recommendation from the board decide to close down a network:

  1. If a network lacks a convenor, and its network members do not themselves appoint a new convenor
  2. If the network activities or network description do not live up to the general aims of NERA (e.g. if the network activity is low; if there are less than 8 abstracts submitted for presentation at the network at two consecutive congresses.


The NERA Congress

NERA arranges an annual conference in cooperation with universities and Higher Education institutions in the Nordic countries. The congress organizers are responsible for a program consisting of keynotes, symposia, paper sessions, roundtables, poster sessions, workshops and other activities.


The Congress Language

The congress language is English. Abstracts are always written in English.

It is possible to present a paper in one of the Nordic languages, but in that case, it must be clearly announced in the program. Presentations in Nordic languages will be placed at the end of the sessions.

The Organizing Committee

The organizing committee decides on the congress theme and the keynote speakers in consultation with the NERA board. The organizing committee is responsible for all practical arrangements, not the least for the reception of abstracts, but the scientific evaluation of the abstracts is delegated to the networks via the conveners. The grouping of presentation of abstracts in paper sessions is also the conveners’ responsibility, while it is the task of the organizing committee to coordinate the plans of all networks and symposia into one comprehensive plan for the congress.


Guidelines for proposals

The proposal for papers should be 200 words for symposia and 500 words for paper sessions and provide information in the following areas:

  1. Title of paper
  2. Author(s) of proposal
  3. Research topic/aim
  4. Theoretical framework
  5. Methodology/research design
  6. Expected conclusions/findings
  7. Relevance for Nordic Educational research.



Multiple-Presenter Symposia

A symposium consists of papers focusing on a common theme to demonstrate a range of perspectives or a variety of approaches. A symposium is planned and proposed by a symposium organizer, e.g. a network convener and has a chair (often the organizer) and a discussant who has read the different papers in advance.

The congress organizers decide how many symposia are feasible at the congress. The congress organizers also decide on the time and place of symposia.

Each symposium has one organizer, who takes care of the planning of the symposium and the coordination with the congress organizers and with the network coordinator (if it is part of a network).

The symposium organizer should solicit proposals and submit them together and is also expected to chair the session and to facilitate discussion. The proposal should include the purpose of and rationale behind the session, a description of each presentation and a statement regarding the intended audience involvement.

The symposium organizer makes an agreement with the organizing committee about the organization of the symposium. The organizing committee informs the organizer of the place and the time of the symposium.

The symposium organizer prepares a detailed plan for the symposium including:

  1. The title of the symposium,
  2. The names of the contributors,
  3. The addresses of the contributors’ institutions,
  4. An abstract describing the entire symposium,
  5. Abstracts from the contributors (max. 200 words), and
  6. The plan for the presentations.

The plan must be submitted to the organizing committee.



Multiple-Paper Sessions

Paper sessions consist of a presentation and a discussion of papers about ongoing or completed research projects. The time frame for each paper is 30 minutes including discussion, and 3-4 different papers will be presented at each parallel session.

All abstracts for paper sessions must be submitted to the congress organizing committee before the deadline declared by the congress committee and announced in second call for the congress. Abstracts should be 500 words and the author should select the network that it is meant for.



Other Formats of Presentations


Roundtable Sessions

A roundtable session is a forum for the presentation and discussion of developmental work and research plans. Roundtable sessions are intended for focused discussions in small groups of research in progress, practitioner experiences, educational improvement initiatives and issues in institutional effectiveness and improvement

The proposal summary should describe the focus and purpose of the session and ways in which participants will be engaged.

Unless other nominations are made, the organizing committee will appoint a researcher to act as organizer and leader of the roundtable session.


Poster Sessions

Poster sessions offer a more informal opportunity to present a project visually rather than orally by means of one (or very few) posters.

During poster sessions, participants can meet the poster presenter at the poster stations. The poster session is thereby a format maximizing interaction between participants and presenters.



Workshops are intended to be interactive sessions at which researchers, practitioners or policymakers present a theme. The proposal should include the purpose and the rationale of the session, a description of the presentation and a statement regarding audience involvement.



As chair, you are asked to be present in your session room at least 10 minutes before the session starts to make sure all equipment are in the room and to help the presenters to upload their presentation or connect their own computers etc. The role of the chair is to introduce the presenters, keep the time schedule for each presenter and organize the discussion. It is important that the presentations are properly scheduled and that every participant keeps their time allotment. If a presentation is cancelled, the chair may either use the time for a general discussion or extend the remaining presentations. For more information about chairing sessions see http://www.aabri.com/LV11Manuscripts/LV11032.pdf


Presenter and presentations

The timetable for the sessions will be set by the organizing committee. Unfortunately, there are no possibilities for individual presenters to change the time and session the presenters have got according to the program.

In the parallel sessions, 3 to 4 papers will be presented. In sessions with 4 papers, the time frame for each presentation is 20 minutes including discussion. In sessions with 3 papers, the time for each paper is 25 minutes including discussion. To make sure participants can attend presentations of particular papers, the chair of the session is asked to follow the order of presentations as displayed in the program.



NERA affiliation to EERA

NERA is a member of the European Educational Research Association (EERA), which is responsible for the annual European Congress on Educational Research (ECER) as well as the associated European Educational Research Journal (EERJ). EERA does considerable efforts in collaboration with other European academic societies to bring an understanding to the European Commission and similar bodies about the importance of educational studies in particular, as well as the social sciences and humanities in general. This is important work in order to impact decisions in relation to research funding and other policy priorities. As a NERA member, you are also an EERA member and get reduction to registration fees for ECER congresses as well as access to the EERJ journal and European research network.



NERA affiliation to AERA

Nera is affiliated to the American Educational Research Association, AERA. The main link being that NERA gets a symposium at the AERA Annual Delegates Assembly.

Networks that have sent in their annual network report to the NERA board, can submit a proposal for this symposium.

The procedure of submitting a proposal to the NERA board for a symposium at AERA is the following:

  1. Networks must send in a proposal for arranging a symposium at AERA by the latest of May 15th. AERA’s application format for symposium should be used. A symposium consists of papers focusing on a common theme to demonstrate a range of perspectives or a variety of approaches. There should be participation from a minimum of 3 Nordic countries in the proposal.
  2. The NERA board will draw lot among the applicants and announce the result before June 16th.
  3. The selected network prepares the final application for the symposium and sends it to the president of NERA no later than September 1st. The normal AERA review procedure does not apply to this symposium because the quality assurance has been done by the networks.
  4. The network shall forward a short report on the AERA presentation to the NERA Board not later than one month after the AERA congress.