21 June 2013

A week in the life of an editor-in-chief

HULL, UK, Sunday, 16 June—I leave my family celebrating Father’s Day—my Father’s Day (third Sunday in June)—at lunchtime to travel to Oxford for a few days. You may have gathered I like to travel, but I don’t like travelling on a Sunday. In the United Kingdom, Sunday means slow and indirect trains with several changes, reduced service on the train (no free wine in first-class, for example), and when you have left your family sitting outside in a sunny garden, it feels so much worse.

The purpose of my visit is the annual two-day management-team meeting for the Journal of Advanced Nursing (JAN). Therefore, my mood lifts as I reach Oxford—location of the Wiley-Blackwell offices—and check in to my hotel. The most interesting and enjoyable part of my work, amongst many interesting things I do, is my role as editor-in-chief of JAN. I get the opportunity to work with some superb people at Wiley-Blackwell. Some have been my colleagues here for years, and I have a top team of editors to work with. A pint of Guinness with fish and chips at the Head of the River pub on the Thames also helps lift my spirits.

Fish and chips lift my spirits.
The first day of the meeting is concerned with reviewing the year: what has worked and what needs to change. We consider the journal impact factor (JIF). Despite its manifest imperfections, and a recent call for it to be ignored, many authors decide where to send manuscripts by JIF, and we simply do not have the luxury of ignoring it. Our consideration of the impact factor is given added poignancy by the fact that announcement of the 2012 rankings is imminent. Let me introduce the team:

The publishers
At Wiley-Blackwell, my immediate contact and journal manager is Rosie Hutchinson, who has been with Wiley-Blackwell since 2009. My longest-standing contact and contemporary is Associate Director Griselda Campbell, whom I have known for more than 20 years, since she visited me as an early-career academic at the University of Edinburgh, when she worked for another publishing company. Then, there is what I refer to as the “engine house” of the Journal of Advanced Nursing: Senior Editorial Assistant Gareth Watkins and Managing Editor Di Sinclair. Nothing seems to be too much trouble for Gareth and Di, and the extent of their knowledge of the online system we use to manage submissions and reviewing is immense.

The editors
I don’t hesitate to say that I work with the best possible team of editors. They are all experienced and capable, and a cursory glance at their profiles reveals the calibre of person who edits JAN. New to the team, but joining us from the Journal of Clinical Nursing (which I used to edit) is Mark Hayter, PhD, RN, FRSA. He was featured in my previous blog, due to his forthcoming induction as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Jane Noyes, DPhil, MSc, RN, works in Wales. She, along with Lin Perry, PhD, MSc, RN, and Brenda Roe, PhD, RN, FRSH—another colleague of more than 20 years standing—preceded my appointment. They are an incredible repository of knowledge about the Journal of Advanced Nursing and also bring very specific expertise to their roles as editors. The newest member of the team is Rita Pickler, PhD, RN, FAAN, who joins us from the United States.

Dinner is in Oxford at Malmaison; excellent food, wine, and good company. I learn about the Travel John from Di, whose annual visit to the Glastonbury Festival is imminent. The Rolling Stones are headlining.

Sleepless night—no JIF announcement yet! In a previous blog, I explained that my success as editor-in-chief is partly judged on the basis of JIF.

Our second day at the management-team meeting always focuses on planning, and this is where the real discussion and debate take place. Many ideas—mostly mine—are “shot down in flames,” and we often end up back where we started with some change proposed to the way we do things. Our main concerns are maintaining a reputation for quality, good service to authors, and good management of copy flow. We realise that we often make adjustments to the systems at our peril and need to be absolutely sure that what is decided is both necessary and likely to work.

The team disperses at the end of the day; back to their own countries, day jobs, and professional duties. I remain in Oxford for a final night on my own, with time to catch up on Skype calls, FaceTime, emails, and editing.

After my third early-morning run of the week along the River Thames, I “hot-desk” at the Wiley offices to catch up with work: write a European Community-funded research proposal with a colleague from the United States; lunch with the publishing team to discuss the use of Journal of Advanced Nursing Linkedin pages, and prepare my first entry for our new blog.

I travel from Oxford to the south coast of England to address the inaugural conference of Phi Mu Chapter of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), launched in 2011 at the U.S. Embassy in London. Dinner is with Dame Betty Kershaw, DBE, OStJ, FRCN, Elizabeth Rosser, DPhil, MN, DipRM, Dip NEd, RN, RM, and Eileen Richardson, MA Ed, RGN, SCM, Cert Nursing Studies (Education). Kershaw was the driving force behind establishing this all-England chapter of STTI, which is hosted by Bournemouth University. Rosser has now taken over as president, and Richardson has supported this work throughout. I stay in Hotel Miramar, where a plaque on the wall indicates that J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, was a frequent visitor.

J.R.R. Tolkien stayed here!

No announcement of JIF yet, but an SMS message from Ian Norman, PhD, RN, CQSW, editor-in-chief of International Journal of Nursing Studies, informs me that we have both slipped down the rankings (unsmiley face).

Excellent news! The JIF of Journal of Advanced Nursing has improved, despite slippage in rankings. Congratulations to Nursing Outlook, in the top five; commiserations to Nursing Science Quarterly, which, along with another 65 journals, has still not reappeared on the Thomson Reuters list. My email to the team is more upbeat than the one I had been planning overnight.

It is a great honour to present the opening keynote at the Honour Society. My theme is “Putting nursing back at the heart of people care,” and the session is attended by the vice-chancellor (equivalent to president) of Bournemouth University. Dinner is like a reunion of old friends and colleagues and is attended by a trio of nursing dames: Dame Kershaw, referred to above; Dame June Clark, DBE, PhD, RN, FRCN, FAAN, recently inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, an avid reader of this blog, and the person responsible for bringing the Honour Society to the United Kingdom for the first time in Wales; and Dame Yvonne Moores, DBE, FRSH, CIMgt, former chief nurse of England, following her roles as chief nurse in Wales and Scotland. For an explanation of the title “Dame,” you need to understand the U.K. Honours system, and few of us actually do!

Six hours and three trains later, I am back in Hull with my family. Tomorrow starts with a 5-kilometre Park Run. On Sunday, I fly to Dublin for one night. No more travelling until the end of July, and no more entries to the blog until then, either.

Gotta run! Photo from Park Run, different time of year.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

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