Policy paper

Nordic Educational Research Association [NERA] Policy on Networks, Keynotes, Symposia, Paper Sessions, Roundtables, Poster Sessions and Workshops.

NERA arranges annual conferences in cooperation with universities in the Nordic countries.

The congress organizers organize the congress in keynotes, symposia, paper sessions, roundtables, poster sessions, workshops and other activities.

The Congress Language

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

It is possible to present a paper in one of the Nordic languages, but it must be clear 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 conference theme and the keynote speakers in consultation with the board of NERA. It is responsible for all practical arrangements, and not least it handles the reception of abstracts, but delegates the scientific evaluation of the abstracts to the networks via their convenors. Grouping presentation of abstracts in paper sessions is also the responsibility of the convenors, while it is the task of the organizing committee to coordinate the plans of all networks and symposia into one comprehensive plan of the conference.

NERA Network Organization

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

The main purpose of a NERA network 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 congresses. The networks serve as a meeting ground for researchers within the field of education and other interested people.

The role of the convenor varies from network to network, depending in part upon the size and ambitions of the networks. As the networks are the main actors at each NERA congress, it becomes the role of the convenor to accept/refuse abstracts and group them together in sessions, and to negotiate with the organising committee about the overall plan of the conference. After each NERA congress, the convenors are expected to produce a report on the activities of the network at the congress and during the year.

The Network Convenor

The main responsibilities of the network convenor are:

Networks and the NERA Congress

  1. To communicate with network members;
  2. To maintain contact with the NERA board through the network coordinator and the organizing committee of the NERA congress;
  3. To organize network activities at the NERA congress in collaboration with the organizing committee of the NERA congress, including the Multiple-Presenter Symposia, Multiple-Paper Sessions, Roundtable Discussions, Poster Sessions and Workshops. The convenors are the academic judges of the quality of papers and proposals for symposia, roundtables and workshops that are to take place within the network. On the other hand the organizing committee has the administrative authority to place these activities within the overall program.
  4. To prepare a detailed plan for the paper session and to submit it to the organizing committee by a date set by the organizing committee. The plan must include:
    1. The title of the network
    2. The plan for the presentations
    3. The names of the contributors
    4. The addresses of the contributors’ institutions
    5. The title of the presentation
    6. Each paper session has one chair
    7. The convener appoints the chairs for the individual sessions
    8. The convenor informs the organizing committee of the names of the chairs.
    9. To deliver these plans at a given deadline to the organizing committee and be ready to engage in changes and negotiations with the organizing committee
    10. To attend convenors’ meetings and the Annual Delegates Assembley [ADA] at the NERA congress;

Networks and the NERA web site

  1. The convenor is responsible for delivering a description of the aims and intentions of the networks that is posted on the web site. The description must have a half page summary in English.
  2. To make a report on the activities of the network during the last year. The report may be the minutes from the network meeting at the NERA congress. The convenor sends the report to the chair of NERA and posts it on the web site.

Support to networks

  1. The board of NERA will in accordance with economic means support network activities. Support will only be given to network activities between the congress, particularly activities for PhD-students and other network activities and symposia in connection with pre- or post-NERA network congress. The activities that are applied for must be open to the whole network and encourage collaboration between all members in the network. Support may be given for travel and diet costs for an invited lecture, but not to network participants. In addition to this, the Board of NERA will in accordance with economic means support a group of Nordic researchers from a NERA network, that has been chosen to represent NERA at the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Delegates Assembley. Routines and time schedule for AERA submission and support will be announced yearly.
  2. Applications must be submitted by the convenor of the network to the chair of the NERA board by 1 August the year before the next NERA congress. The convenor will be informed of the decision of the NERA board in September the year before the next congress.
  3. Documentation for all expenditures must be sent to the treasurer of NERA no later than one month after the NERA congress has taken place.
  4. A short report of the activities that were supported shall be send to the network coordinator no later than one month after the NERA Congress has taken place.

Presentations of Research

Guidelines for proposals for papers and symposia presentations

The proposal for papers should be 200 words for symposia and 500 words for paper sessions and composed according to these themes:

  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, a network convenor e.g. 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 coordination with the congress organizers and with the network coordinator (if it is part of a network).

The organizer should solicit proposals and submit them together. The organizer is 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 audience involvement.

The 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 organizer of the symposium 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 an ongoing or completed research project. Time frame for each paper: 30 minutes including discussion. 3-4 different papers will be presented at each parallel session.

All abstracts for paper sessions must be submitted to the congress 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 Discussions

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 peruse poster stations, 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.

NERA affiliation to EERA

NERA is a member of the European Educational Research Association, which is responsible to 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 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 (e.g. Horizon 2010) 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

The main link being that NERA gets a symposium at the AERA Annual Delegates Assembley.

The procedure of submitting a proposal to the NERA board is the following:

  1. Networks interested send a proposal for arranging a symposium by AERA the latest May 15th. The principles decided in the Policy paper on keynotes, symposia etc. approved by the Annual Delegates Assembley of NERA, is the form to 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. The organizer of the symposium 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.
  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 1rd. 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 Board not later than one month after the AERA.


Procedures for opening and closing networks

Procedure for opening a network

Application for opening a new network within NERA is to be sent to NERA president and network coordinator not later than 1 st of August, by aspiring convenor.

In order to hold a position as convenor for a NERA network one needs to have an academic degree of not less than a Ph d. A network has to represent at least three different Nordic countries and consist of 25 researchers or more.

A NERA network has to be representing a tradition of thought and/or a field of research in education. 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.

Application should also give reasons for why one cannot join already existing networks.

The aspiring convenor is responsible for the application and that the application as well as the workings of the network is in line with NERA policies.


Procedure for closing networks

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

– If the network activity is low, i.e., if there at two congresses in a row are submitted less than 8 abstracts for presentation at the network

– If a network lacks a convenor, and its network members do not themselves appoint a new convenor

– If the network activities or network description do not live up to general aim of NERA.