On the Inside of a Journal: The Power of the Dugnad

Production Editor

[1] NORCE Norwegian Research Centre

Having worked as production editor as part of the Voices team for a few years, I want to highlight the beauty of the process itself, or the “Journal cycle”, which rolls steadily throughout the year. In every step, from submission, peer review, copyediting and through to production, we depend on volunteers. These volunteers support the idea of volunteer work and become part of a global volunteer network that strives to disseminate knowledge about research, practice, and theory in the discipline of music therapy to all who want to read it throughout the world.

In my home country of Norway, we have the word dugnad, originating from the Norse word dugnaðr which means “help, support” or “virtue, good quality” (Nordbø, 2021; Språkrådet, 2020). This word played a major role for the Norwegian population in the period following World War II when rebuilding the country after the occupation, and the word also gained new territory during the Covid pandemic. I find this word dugnad also serving very well in the context of running a journal.

My colleagues at Voices live around the world. This means that the wheel never really stops turning because it is never "night" at Voices. It is admirable to see colleagues with busy everyday lives engaging as article editors, copyeditors, peer reviewers, and abstract translators for our journal, and it is beautiful to see that they and our journal editors are so passionate about their work that they are willing to go to such great lengths.

Although the process is beautiful, it is still very fragile. The rolling journal cycle is by no means free of hurdles and unexpected detours, and no two days are the same for us who work in a journal. Our challenges include everything from communication difficulties to time zone variations, illness and family situations that sometimes require our full attention. In these situations, it becomes clear how dependent we are on each other, and how much dedication it really takes to get a journal issue published. It is in such moments that the collaborative spirit of the dugnad is truly felt.

I would like to send a tribute to all those who volunteer countless hours to support the work of open access publishing, both those who are engaged on a long-term basis as article editors or the like, and those who line up as peer reviewers. Without their "yes", there would never have been a journal like Voices.



Nordbø, B. (2021). Dugnad. Store Norske Leksikon. https://snl.no/dugnad